SINGAPORE — Yani Tseng, the former top-ranked women's golfer, is hoping she can follow Rory McIlroy's example and put a disastrous 2013 season behind her to recapture the form that saw her reach the top of the game.
By JUSTIN BERGMAN
Tseng and McIlroy had similar struggles last year after both experienced great success at a young age and couldn't cope with the heightened expectations and pressure that accompanied it.
Tseng dominated the women's game for two years, winning five majors by the age of 22 — the youngest golfer, male or female, to achieve the feat. Her confidence began to slip soon after, however, and she lost her No. 1 ranking a little over a year ago.
McIlroy also had a disappointing 2013 season after reaching the No. 1 ranking on the men's side, walking off the course at the Honda Classic during a particularly low moment in March and failing to win a tournament until the Australian Open in December.
The Northern Irishman seems like he's turning a corner, though. He's in the lead after the opening round at the Honda Classic this week.
Tseng too is learning how to enjoy her time on the course again, and hopes the results will soon follow.
"Last year was gone very fast. I didn't reach my goal, didn't win any tournaments and it's kind of very up and down with my game, too. I was putting lots of pressure on myself," she said after shooting an opening-round 73 at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore on Thursday.
"But after that I kind of feel release a little bit. I feel very relaxed this year and I just try to forget about what's behind and always looking ahead. Forget about everything that I've achieved because that's already done."
Tseng has not challenged the leaders in Singapore so far this week, lagging seven shots behind leader Karrie Webb after the first round and failing to make up much ground with her 1-under 71 on Friday.
But she looked like her old self last week at the LPGA Thailand tournament, finishing in a tie for fifth — her best result in a year.
It's been nearly two years since Tseng won a title — but she's trying not to focus on things like that.
"I try to not think too much, just play like I am a rookie, you know," she said. "Because this is a sport I love. Now I just try to get that feeling back and enjoy every moment I have on the course."