Is Yani Tseng on the way back?
BY Bruce Young | ALPG Tour | 2014 Volvik RACV Ladies Masters | Preview | 06 Feb 2014
Three years ago following her victory at the then ANZ Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast, Taiwanese golfing star, Yani Tseng, became the world number one golfer and with another eight wins in 2011 following that victory she had stretched her lead to what appeared to be an almost unassailable lead at the top of the female game.
Three wins followed early in 2012 but midway through that year injury issues began to creep into her game and with it her confidence began to erode and it became a vicious circle as she spiralled downwards from the giddy heights she had reached.
Early in 2013 Stacy Lewis then Inbee Park took over the mantle of world number one as Tseng fought to get her game back on track. It appeared she might have done so with several good finishes late in 2012 and early 2013 including a runner-up finish at the Women’s Australian Open and a 3rd place finish in Thailand the following week..
Again though for the next six or seven months the demons set in. She was struggling to even make cuts and it took until September before she recorded another top ten. There were one or two good finishes late in 2012 but by the end of the year she was a long way from where she had been two years and event twelve months earlier.
Back at RACV Royal Pines for this week’s Volvik RACV Ladies Masters where she has such good memories Tseng is confident and looking forward to what lies ahead.
Tseng had played here as an amateur producing a round of 63 in 2006 finishing 3rd behind another precocious talent, Amy Yang, that year. The two time World Junior Champion and US Public Links Champion in 2004 had received an invite from tournament promoter Bob Tuohy to play the event.
“I do feel confident, I work with Kevin Smeltz in Orlando and I was there last week and we worked on my swing a little bit,” said Tseng yesterday. "We changed a little bit and just try to get me used to it to have my best win out there, to make me more comfortable and confident with my swing.
She switched to Smeltz after a lengthy period with Gary Gilchrist and has also revisited her childhood coach Tony Kao on occasions.
“I think I’m almost there, it’s not 100% but it’s good to doubt yourself because it keeps you working harder. This time I know the golf course so I’m not worried too much, I just want to go out there and have fun and do the best I can do and swing the best swing I can swing.”
A naturally gifted and free-wheeling playing at her best Tseng is trying to rekindle memories of when she played her best. How often do we hear just that. Great players trying to get back to what made them great in the first place.
“I played in Taiwan (the Taifong Ladies Open two weeks ago) and won the tournament so it gave me a lot of confidence to come here and we haven’t changed much, just tied to change back to when I was my best in 2011, what was my swing like and what’s it like now.
“Now I try to feel me comfortable on my swing because I know this swing is when I play my best.
“We keep it very simple, we don’t really try lots of new stuff. With Gary and Kevin we were working on lots of things the same which makes a lot of difference for me because it’s easier to keep hearing one thing.
“I am very comfortable with my new equipment too, I play all 14 clubs in Callaway and Odyssey putter I feel very comfortable right now.
The 25 year old’s belief might just tell the story of an amazingly talented player about begin the climb to her former glory.
“I mean if my heart feels happy and I feel fresh then my body isn’t going to affect anything. This is a beautiful city and I’m very happy to be back here, it’s more like a vacation. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity coming back here and playing so I feel very appreciative.”