Taiwan’s Tseng takes top spot

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng took the world number one ranking in women’s golf from South Korean Jiyai Shin on Monday as the LPGA looked to its season-opener, starting in Thailand on Thursday.

Tseng, the 22-year-old who captured the 2010 LPGA Player of the Year award, jumped to the top for the first time in her career after winning the Women’s Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters in the past two weeks.

“It is so soon,” Tseng said. “I wasn’t expecting it as quickly as this. I still have another 10 months to go. I just need to be very patient and keep working hard. I still have a lot of things to learn too.”

Tseng has already won three of the LPGA’s four major titles, needing only the US Women’s Open to complete a career Grand Slam.

If she wins it next July in Colorado Springs she will be the youngest woman to complete a career Slam.

Tseng’s prior major triumphs include the 2008 LPGA Championship and the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship and 2010 Women’s British Open.

After off-season concerns due to economic woes, the LPGA secured a 24-event, 13-nation tour for 2011, dropping one event in Mexico earlier this month over security issues but adding new events this season in China and Taiwan.

“We’re pleased that golf’s global tour was able to withstand the economic downturn,” LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said. “We’re thrilled to add new ideas and new tournaments in the US, Taiwan and China.”

New events include the Imperial Springs LPGA in Guangzhou, China, next August, October’s LPGA Taiwan Championship and the LPGA Founders Cup, a 54-hole US event next month at Phoenix, where one million dollars goes to charity.

“The addition of Taiwan and China events further prove we are truly a global tour,” Tseng said. “With the economic downturn, commissioner Whan and his team have done a great job to secure as many events as they did in 2010.”

The LPGA season tees off on Thursday at the Honda LPGA Thailand on the Siam Country Club course in Chonburi and continues next week at the HSBC Women’s Championship in Singapore.

While Tseng has leaped into the top spot after finishing fifth in the 2010 rankings, she faces a host of challengers ready to knock her from her perch.

Japan’s Ai Miyazato is the defending champion in Thailand and Singapore and will try to duplicate her strong start from last year in a bid to rise from sixth in the current rankings.

Shin, who won twice last season in a campaign complicated by an emergency appendectomy early in the season, became only the third year-end world number one after retired stars Annika Sorenstam of Sweden and Lorena Ochoa of Mexico.

World number three Suzann Pettersen of Norway, a five-time runner-up last season, seeks her first title since the 2009 Canadian Women’s Open.

Woods apologises for spitting in Dubai

  • Former world number one fined undisclosed sum
  • Woods in breach of European Tour code of conduct

LONDON (Reuters) - Former world number one Tiger Woods has apologised after being fined for spitting during the Dubai Desert Classic over the weekend.

“It was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn’t thinking and want to say I’m sorry,” Woods wrote on his Twitter account on Monday.

The European Tour decided to fine Woods after reviewing television footage.

“Tournament director Mike Stewart has reviewed the incident and feels there has been a breach of the tour code of conduct and consequently Tiger Woods will be fined,” the European Tour said in a statement.

Officials will write to the 35-year-old American’s management team but are unlikely to publicly disclose the amount of the fine.

Woods, a 14-times major winner, was caught spitting several times by cameras on Sunday as he returned a three-over-par 75 to finish seven strokes behind winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Former tour professional Ewen Murray, now a commentator with Sky, voiced his displeasure with the world number three.

“You look at his work ethics and he is a credit to the game and an inspiration to all of those who are trying to become professional golfers but there are some parts of him that are just arrogant and petulant,” said Briton Murray.

“Somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit (on the 12th green). It does not get much lower than that.”

Murray’s Sky colleague Robert Lee is on the European Tour’s board of directors and he was equalled appalled at Woods’s behaviour in Dubai.

“Could you imagine Jack Nicklaus looking down at a four or five-foot putt and then turning to the side and (spitting)? It would never happen,” said former tour professional Lee.

“It’s a lack of class, appalling. It won’t be his legacy, his legacy will be that he has won 14 majors and ... if he is not the best golfer who ever lived, he is very close to it.