The measure of a great champion is not only when you have a great victory, but when you change people’s perception of what’s possible.
With her five-stroke victory in her home-country, Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, Yani Tseng blew the doors off the tournament and left the other players shaking their heads in wonder. If they couldn’t beat her in circumstances where she might be vulnerable to letting her mind wander to the joys and distractions of demonstrating to her countrymen what she had become as a player, could they ever?
On a day when second place Amy Yang shot a hot 5-under 67 to put pressure on Tseng, she responded with her own 66 to run away with it. Tseng was playing in the last group with Anna Nordqvist and Azahara Munoz and the best they could do was 71 and 68. Not good enough.
Having made an improbable birdie on the par 3 2nd, she only had a one-stroke lead over Nordqvist on the 6th tee…and then she went birdie, birdie, birdie. Nordqvist was able to make two of her own in that stretch, but then she buckled on 10 and 11 to give Tseng some breathing room. When Tseng birdied 16 and 18, the best Nordqvist could answer with was another bogey and that, as they say, was that. Everyone else who had a chance couldn’t go deep enough to catch Tseng’s 66.
And in the end, that was what made her round so remarkable. She didn’t hang on with a round around even par, she went out and claimed it with her flawless 6-under round.
In the face of this, her seventh win this season, it’s hard to see how she can keep this going. But then, it’s hard to believe that she would have such an easy time winning this one too.
There have been others who have excited us in recent times, Martin Kaymer comes to mind, who dominated fields and courses to our dismay. But inevitably, something happens to them and they soon fold themselves back into the pack. It’s not that the pack isn’t extraordinary itself, it’s just that it’s very hard to stand out from them for any length of time.
Well, Yani Tseng is standing out from her pack—they too quite extraordinary—and for now, it’s hard to see how she’ll ever come back to them.
Enjoy this master while you can.