Yani Tseng: 5 Toughest Competitors She's Faced on the LPGA
Yani Tseng is, without a question, the most dominant golfer, men or women, of 2011. Having won 11 times around the world she's one of the few athletes who can boast that kind of consistency.
Her success on the golf course and dominating Rolex Rankings doesn't mean that competing against the best golfers is an easy feat to achieve.
In the second part of the exclusive interview, she told me who the five most competitive, challenging and tougher LPGA golfers she's had to face are.
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She was one of the players who battled to lead the Rolex Rankings after Lorena left the tour in 2010.
Miyazato is quite a sensation in her native Japan, actually, she's one of the foreign players who has more followers and media around her; but most importantly, she has proved with hard work and talent why she's so famous.
This season she won the Evian Masters, ranks eighth in the LPGA official money list and has posted six top-10 finishes in 18 starts.
In Yani's words: "Ai is one of the toughest rivals I've faced because she's very consistent, has a lot of focus and hardly ever loses it."
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At age 23, the Final Round Queen has already broken all the Korean LPGA records.
In 2004, Jiyai's mom was killed in a car accident. Her dad decided to invest the insurance money in her golfing career and, ever since, she has taken advantage of it.
Shin won her first LPGA tournament when she wasn't even a member of the tour. Back in 2008 she hoisted the Women's British Open trophy and secured her membership for the next season.
After Lorena Ochoa's retirement, Jiyai assumed the top spot of the Rolex Rankings, but lost it to Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr and, finally, to Yani Tseng.
In Yani's words: "She was world No.1, and she's very tough from the mental side of the game."
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Former world No.1 and Mexico's top golfer dominated women's golf for three years (2007-2010), overtaking the top spot from Annika Sörenstam, who in 2008 decided to step down to have a family.
Ochoa's superstar status in Mexico was the key factor for the LPGA to celebrate three events in her native country: MasterCard Classic (Mexico City), Tres Marías Championship (Morelia) and Lorena Ochoa Invitational (Guadalajara).
In 2007, her most successful season, she won eight LPGA titles, including the Women's British Open, and earned over $4.3 million (a record that still stands).
She became the only Mexican to be named Player of the Year, a feat she accomplished four times (2006-2009).
In Yani's words: "She's an inspiration for me, and I'll always admire her. Obviously, she's not playing with us anymore, but she was very gracious on the course and very competitive."
Na Yeon Choi
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In 2008, Na Yeon joined the LPGA, but she was no stranger to professional golf, having turned pro four years earlier.
Choi competed at the KLPGA, where she won seven times, becoming one of the Korean players to watch.
During her rookie season in the LPGA, she had nine top-10 finishes in 27 starts and earned $1.09 million. She came second to Yani Tseng on the Rookie of the Year race.
Currently, she's ranked fourth in the Rolex Rankings and has won five titles in the LPGA, including two in her native South Korea.
In Yani's words: "Na Yeon is a superb player. We are good friends, and I love to compete against her. She's one of the most consistent golfers out there."
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Norway's finest has one of the toughest mentalities out there, and she surely shows it.
Pettersen might be one of the nicest players on tour, but she doesn't smile as much, in return, she gives the cold look and hard face to rivals, which suits her game perfectly.
Suzann is very aggressive inside the ropes and one of the longest hitters on tour. She has 14 professional titles, eight of those in the LPGA—including a major at the 2007 LPGA Championship.
This season she overcame a two-year drought, which put her one spot back from Tseng in the Rolex Rankings, the best spot she's ever had.
In 2011, Tutta has posted 10 top-10 finishes in 19 events and earned $1.2 million.
In Yani's words: "I feel like we have the same style. We’re very aggressive players. We are very competitive; she's for sure one of the toughest players to beat."