Tseng: The LPGA's untouchable star
Kevin Currie, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Late July on the sports calendar means different things to different people.
For baseball fans, the last day of July marks the non-waiver trade deadline where your favorite team either goes all-in, or bails on the season and trades for prospects.
If you are a diehard football fan, teams start training camp under the blazing sun in 32 different cities. Clubs are usually scrambling to sign their draft picks and unearth any hidden free agents that might still be lurking out there.
In golf, late July means three straight weeks of British Open Championships, starting with the men and ending with the women.
Thanks to football's lockout, the free agency/trade deadline frenzy has dominated the headlines the last few days, and rightly so.
Missed in all those moves was another major championship for the LPGA's most untradeable star - Yani Tseng.
The 22-year-old from Taiwan has the drive of Annika Sorenstam, the length of Dustin Johnson, the smile of Phil Mickelson and the rip-your-heart-out desire of a young Tiger Woods.
If she were a baseball player on a bad team, other teams would need to mortgage their farm system in an attempt to trade for her.
Thankfully for the LPGA, there is no trading this superstar to another tour.
Just over two years ago, Tseng made a move that motivates her every day. She looked up to Sorenstam in every way, and what better way to remind yourself of the Swede than by buying her house.
After just two wins on the LPGA Tour, Tseng moved into Sorenstam's old house in Orlando. It was the thrill of a lifetime for her.
Though she is just 22, I'm guessing there are 16- or 17-year-old girls already plotting ways to buy that abode from Tseng some day.
For the powers that be at the LPGA, they don't have to worry about Tseng going anywhere anytime soon.
In the last eight majors championships on the LPGA Tour, Tseng has won four of them. She has collected three of the four legs of the grand slam, and has back-to-back wins at the Women's British Open.
Legendary golfer Bobby Jones once said of Jack Nicklaus, "He was playing a game with which I am not familiar."
You could say the same about Tseng right now.
Outside of those four major championship victories, she has won three other LPGA Tour events since the start of 2010 giving her a stellar winning percentage over the last two years.
Tseng has won seven of her last 33 LPGA Tour starts, meaning she has won over 20-percent of the events she played in that span.
Sure, that isn't Tiger winning 17-of-41 tournaments in 1999 and 2000, but it's impressive nonetheless.
She also has a long way to go to reach Sorenstam's peak from 2004-05. Sorenstam won 18 times and finished second another six times in 38 starts over those two seasons.
But with a game that has her ranked first in driving distance and first in greens in regulation, it seems as though the rest of the field is playing for second place when Tseng is on top of her game.
When asked Sunday what it means when Tseng's name is atop the leaderboard, Brittany Lang had this to say, "It usually means that not much is going to go wrong, that you're going to need to make some birdies to catch her because she's pretty steady. She's going to make pars and birdies and eagles. She's not normally going to falter."
Tseng may not strike fear into her opponents with her towering size, but it is her booming game that tells her fellow competitors that they're watching greatness.
KIM NEEDS TO WIN AGAIN, SOON
Last week, an emotional Sean O'Hair visited the winner's circle for the first time in over two years.
Anthony Kim's dry spell is not nearly as long, his last win was 15 months ago, but Kim is definitely fighting his game.
He said this week in West Virginia that his mother told him he needs to have fun again. And she's right.
What isn't fun? A second-round 81 last week in Canada that led to a disqualification. Even if he wasn't DQ'd, Kim would have missed the cut.
Another sign that he isn't having fun right now, a day after putting together a bogey-free, eight-under 62, Kim stumbled to a birdie-free, four-over 74 Sunday.
"I was having a lot fun. I haven't had this much fun playing golf in a long time," Kim said after Saturday's third round.
"Even when I wasn't hitting the ball particularly well [Friday], I had a lot of fun. The last couple weeks have really turned my golf game around, especially starting at the British."
Kim has shot 72 or better in eight of his last 10 rounds, but it is those other two that stick out to me. His second-round blowup at the Canadian Open couldn't have been any fun.
And his closing 74 Sunday, that dropped him from the third-round lead into a share of 14th, had to be excruciating.
Is it time for a new caddie? Or a new coach? Kim doesn't need to over-react like that, but he does have four times as many missed cuts (eight) as top-10 finishes (two) this year.
That doesn't sound like fun to me. Another way to check how little fun Kim has had over the last two years?
Take a glance at the U.S. Presidents Cup standings. The 26-year-old Kim, who is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, improved from 35th to 34th in those standings after coughing up the lead at the Greenbrier Classic.
Maybe Kim needs Oklahoma to whip up on Texas in the Red River Rivalry this fall to get his excitement piqued again. Otherwise, Kim needs to get into the winner's circle soon, or he could be looking at a big swoon.
- Bob Estes fell to 0-4 in playoffs on the PGA Tour with his loss Sunday to Scott Stallings at The Greenbrier Classic. Estes has at least one top-10 in each of his 23 seasons on tour, but has won just four titles.
- Stallings, Andres Romero and Cameron Tringale all earned a spot in the field at the PGA Championship with their finishes on Sunday.