Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Yani Tseng, the world's No. 2-ranked female golfer, said Friday she was saddened and disappointed by unfounded speculation about her situation after she failed to show up on time for a March 20 pro-am event ahead of the LPGA Kia Classic tournament.
In the wake of the missed tee time, a local weekly speculated in its latest issue that the 24-year-old Taiwanese golfer took to late night partying after gaining fame, which has hurt her game and disrupted her regular routine.
The report also cited Hsu Tien-ya, president of the Golf Association of the Republic of China, as saying that the "missing pro-am tee time" incident also reflected the incompetence of Tseng's advisory team.
"I'm disheartened by the report," Tseng wrote on her Facebook page Friday.
The 24-year-old golfer, who is currently in California to prepare for the Kraft Nabisco Championship that begins on April 4, said she has been practicing very hard every day in pursuit of excellence.
"I work very hard every day in hopes of playing better. I trust my support team. I trust those who love me and support me. I don't know why some people often find fault with me behind my back," Tseng wrote.
Despite all the criticism, Tseng said she will continue to work hard and play golf for those who like and support her.
Tseng dominated women's golf in 2011 with 12 tournament victories worldwide, but she has been winless in 23 events since her 2012 Kia Classic victory, leading some in Taiwan to wonder where the magic has gone.
Those questions only grew louder last week when she missed her pro-am tee time and was dropped from the Kia Classic, losing the opportunity to defend her title.
Tseng later issued a statement apologizing for her failure to appear at the event on time.
"I'm embarrassed to admit that I wasn't feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning," Tseng said in the statement.
Hsu said in an interview with the Taipei-based Next Magazine that Tseng should make changes in her support team, even suggesting that she replace her manager Naya Hsu.
He repeated a previous criticism that Tseng's team is arranging too many activities not related to golf for her prior to big tournaments, causing her to lose focus.
Moreover, Hsu said Tseng should say "no" when her friends in the entertainment world invite her to night clubs.
Tseng's father reacted angrily to Hsu Tien-ya's comments, calling them sheer speculation.
"What Hsu said was not true. Yani was not likely to have frequented night clubs to the extent that she missed a tournament," Tseng Mao-hsin was quoted as saying in a Liberty Times report on Saturday.
He insisted that his daughter missed the Kia pro-am mainly because she overslept and her cell phone alarm did not go off.
"As her phone was dead, her caddy also couldn't get through to her," Tseng Mao-hsin said.
Tseng took the world No. 1 spot from Jiyai Shin of South Korea in 2011 after notching up three consecutive victories at the beginning of the season.
She then held the top spot for 109 weeks before relinquishing it to Stacy Lewis in mid-March after the American won the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix.
Tseng, who has won 15 LPGA titles, including five majors, tied for 59th in Phoenix.
She opened the 2013 season with a second-place finish in the Women's Australian Open, tied for third in the LPGA Thailand and completed the Asian swing with a tie for 28th in Singapore.
Her mother and manager have arrived in Los Angeles Friday to cheer her up ahead of the Kraft Nabisco tournament, the first major of the year on the LPGA Tour, according to the Liberty Times.
(By Sofia Wu)