Why Yani Tseng Won't Play with the Men Yet

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2011

GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 11:  Yani Tseng of Taiwan acknowledges the gallery during the second round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Jalisco It Happens Within You held at Guadalajara Country Club on November 11, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Yani Tseng has had one of the best seasons in golf's history. With 11 titles so far, including seven on the LPGA, and reigning the Rolex Rankings, she's possessed to seal 2011 in-style, even though, she recently turned down an invitation to play the Puerto Rico Open.

I sat down with Taiwan's super star for an exclusive interview at last week's Lorena Ochoa Invitational, and she shared the reasons why she feels like this is not the right time to face the men.

"I think I'm not ready yet, I have a lot of goals I want to achieve before doing that, like playing more consistently and working harder," she said after the LPGA honored her with the Yani Tseng Day, last Friday (11/11/11).

Right now, Tseng wants to focus on the LPGA and try to become even better. This week she'll receive the Player of the Year award for the second straight season, a feat only eight players have achieved.

Turning down the invitation to perform at the Puerto Rico Open doesn't mean she has no intention to face the guys, she wants to follow the steps of lifelong idol Annika Sörenstam, who played the 2003 Bank of America Colonial.

But before doing it, "I need to find a golf course that suits me better, a course I like, that way I will definitively play better."

For Yani, playing with the guys has more to do with a learning experience rather than with winning the event, whatever it is.

"I'd go there to see different things and just learn. It's always fun to watch the men play because they hit the shots so different from us, I want to have another great experience in my life."

And speaking of learning from the best, Tseng also shared her thoughts on Tiger Woods.
"I think he can come back, he performed great at the Australian Open, he just needs some time, if people wait and stay patient I'm sure they'll get to see him up there again."

Yani also talked about the toughest competitors she's faced on the LPGA and her thoughts on being the only Taiwanese to become golf's world No. 1, so stay tuned, more to come during the week...