Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) World No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng may not be the favorite at this week's Ricoh Women's British Open, but she still has her sights on winning a record third consecutive British Open title.
Tseng enters the tournament in what is for her a serious slump. She has not finished in the top 10 of any stroke-play event since ending in a tie for 10th at the LPGA Lotte Championship in mid-April.
She has also missed the cut in three of her last six events, a remarkable number considering that she only missed three cuts on the LPGA Tour in the first four full years of her professional career from 2008 to 2011.
The slump has brought on its share of doubters and detractors, and Tseng admitted on her Facebook page Monday that she has always cared about what others said of her but that she was determined to deal with it.
"I will definitely get stronger, and play better for those who like me, for those who look down on me and for those who are all talk and no action. I will use a positive attitude to deal with the situation," she wrote.
Tseng has done well at the Women's British Open, winning the 2010 event at Royal Birkdale Golf Club and then becoming the youngest golfer, male or female, to capture five majors when she won the 2011 event at Carnoustie Golf Links.
She will begin her bid for a third straight title in the US$2.75 million event at 7:20 a.m. Thursday British time, paired with Ai Miyazato of Japan and American Pink Panther Paula Creamer.
Her past record at the Women's British Open was not enough to overcome her recent struggles in the eyes of British bookmakers in setting odds for the tournament.
Betting site William Hill installed South Korean Inbee Park, who won the Evian Masters in July, as the favorite at 8 to 1 odds, followed by countrywoman Jiyai Shin at 10 to 1.
Tseng, U.S. Open champion Na Yeon Choi of South Korea, and American Stacy Lewis all have odds of 12 to 1.
In an LPGA fan poll, however, Tseng was named the most likely winner by 31 percent of the 1,272 fans who cast votes, with Shin in second with 16 percent of the vote as of Wednesday.
One downside for Tseng is that she has never played Hoylake, where this week's British Open is being held.
The course has 83 treacherous bunkers, and Tseng told the BBC that she came prepared by watching video of Tiger Woods' 2006 triumph on the same course.
"Tiger always hit irons from the tees, and I want to stick with the same strategy as him," said Tseng, whose driving accuracy is one of the weaknesses of her game.
She said it felt weird to suffer a loss of form for as long as she has, saying, "I started second-guessing myself and was always questioning myself, but I have really learned a lot."
Woods showed he had confidence in Tseng despite her recent doldrums, saying "she's just way too talented, and I'm sure she's going to win so many more major championships and tournaments."
(By Lung Po-an and Kendra Lin)