World's No. 1 LPGA player thriving on pressure

Yani Tseng of Taiwan celebrates with the trophy after winning the Women's British open at Carnoustie in Scotland on July 31, 2011.
Yani Tseng
Yani Tseng of Taiwan celebrates with the trophy after winning the Women's British open at Carnoustie in Scotland on July 31, 2011.

Golf can be a numbers game at times. No one knows this better than the No. 1 ranked LPGA Tour player, Yani Tseng. Since joining the Tour in 2008, Tseng has more than 6,000 followers on Twitter, 17 international victories, nine LPGA career wins, and oh, yes, five major titles--two of which she captured in 2011.

At the 2011 RICOH Women's British Open there was no Van de Velde finish on the famed Carnoustie Golf Links. Instead, Tseng finished at 16-under making her the youngest golfer--male or female--to win five majors. At 22 years, 6 months and 8 days, she beat the record previously held by Tiger Woods when he won the PGA Championship in 2000 at 24 years, 7 months.

Shortly after a 10-day media whirlwind in her home country of Taiwan, caught up with Tseng to talk about the challenges she faces this week, her relationship with golf-great Annika Sorenstam and her quest for more titles. How does it feel to be No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings and to be the youngest player in golf history to have five major titles?

Tseng: I feel really good. I'm trying to enjoy it right now. The first couple of months after I became number one I was not used to it, I guess. Sometimes I do feel pressure, but I just turn that pressure into motivation. There have been several adjustments made to Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek Course, what will be your focus this week heading into the Safeway Classic?

Tseng: I think this week my goal is to just enjoy it. When I was out on the course yesterday, I felt a lot of excitement. I can't wait to go out there and be myself and to be in competition with another player. I don't have any expectations. I just try to play the best I can and focus on one shot at a time.

Track Yani Tseng and other LPGA Tour players at The Safeway Classic What challenges will you face this week?

Tseng: I think my challenge this week is myself. There are so many great players out here this week and I expect everyone to play well. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself (laughing). When powerhouses Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa retired from the LPGA Tour, concerns were raised regarding who would be the next breakout star. Do you feel that you are filling that role for the LPGA Tour?

Tseng: Not yet because Annika and Lorena are still part of this. They help me a lot and still do so much promoting for the LPGA. Myself and the other players try to improve the Tour as well because we're on the courses we see the young players who look up to us not just on the golf course, but outside of the golf course too. Where do you see the LPGA Tour in the next 10 years?

Tseng: The Tour is getting better. Next year we have more tournaments and people are very excited for it. You purchased Annika's Florida home in 2009 and are on your way to filling up her trophy case. Can you talk a bit about your relationship with her and what that's meant to you?

Tseng: She's my role model, and always has been. Even now when I talk to her I still get nervous, but I'm honored to be her friend. She's a very confident player and she's helped me a lot on the golf course and outside of the golf course. The trophy case is really fun because I sit at home and I see it's kind of empty and I tell myself, "I need to win more trophies!" What's next for you?

Tseng: I'm going to Canada and then I'll probably be back in Orlando. Shortly after that is the Asian swing.