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Tseng reveals interest in playing against men

2011/10/30 15:15:51

Suzhou, China, Oct. 30 (CNA) World No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng revealed for the first time Saturday that she is interested in entering a PGA Tour event to learn from her male peers.

"If an opportunity presents itself, I would like to play in a PGA tournament to learn more from male golfers," the Taiwanese star said after the second round of the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China.

Some golf pundits have recently suggested that Tseng, after having "a season for the ages in 2011," take her immense talent to the PGA Tour.

Prominent LPGA players such as retired Swedish "golf queen" Annika Sorenstam and American Michelle Wie have played in PGA Tour events, but neither made the cut in any of the tournaments they played.

Yahoo Sports writer Shane Bacon said earlier this week that Tseng should not be discouraged by those results because her ability to combine distance and short-game skills sets her apart from Sorenstam and Wie.

"She hits it long, makes a lot of putts, and seems downright dominant over women's golf right now," said Bacon, who felt that Yani needed more attention because she was too good not to be a bigger story.

"Playing on the PGA Tour might just help her achieve that needed spotlight," he said.

Responding to a CNA question on the idea, Tseng said she would just play for fun if she were given a chance to play in a PGA-sanctioned tournament.

"I wouldn't care about the results because I'd just want to enjoy the feeling of playing with guys and learning from them to further improve my skills," Tseng said.

The 22-year-old surged into the lead at the Suzhou Taihu event after firing a six-under-par 66 in the second round of the three-round tournament on Saturday.

Should she hold on to her lead in Sunday's final round, it will be her 11th title of the year.

Tseng is the star attraction of the Suzhou tournament, the only formal event she has played in China this year.

Speaking at a pre-event news conference on Oct. 27, Tseng said her dream is to become the first ethnic Chinese golfer to enter the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, which is part of the World Golf Hall of Fame and one of the most respected institutions in professional sports.

A female golfer who has played on the LPGA Tour for 10 years and accumulated a total of 27 points will gain entry to the Hall of Fame.

In just her fourth season on the LPGA tour, Tseng seized the No. 1 ranking in February after winning back-to-back LET events in Australia.

She has won a total of seven events on the LPGA Tour and became the youngest player ever -- male or female -- to win five majors after winning the Women's British Open in July.

Tseng would have to stay in the LPGA Tour for six more years and earn nine more points to qualify for Hall of Fame entry.

"I will do my best to win as many championships as possible because gaining entry to the LPGA Hall of Fame is my top goal," she said.

Tseng, who was voted Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation Oct. 19, has also been nominated for Golf Magazine's first-ever "Player of the Year" Award.

In early returns in the online poll, she was far ahead of the other three candidates, who are all men -- top-ranked Luke Donald of England, 2011 U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley of the United States.

The magazine, a sister publication of Sports Illustrated, will announce its pick on Nov. 1.

(By Chou Hui-ying and Sofia Wu)