PGA Tour Confidential: Yani Tseng dominates LPGA Championship

Yani Tseng, Sunday, 2011 Wegmans LPGA
Kevin Rivoli/AP
Yani Tseng won the LPGA Championship by an astounding ten strokes to capture her fourth major title at the age of 22.

Every week of the 2011 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

TSENG'S RUNAWAY VICTORY
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Another major championship week, another runaway victory for a 22-year-old star. Rory McIlroy appears on his way to greatness, but Yani Tseng became the youngest modern player (male or female) to win four major championships. (Young Tom Morris, born in April of 1851, won his fourth Open Championship in 1872.) With her 10-shot victory, she served notice that she just might rewrite the LPGA record books. How many majors do you see Yani winning, and what do you like most about her game?

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Tseng appears as if she's fearless, bullet-proof. You have to admire that degree of confidence.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: McIlroy may or may not achieve greatness, but Tseng already has, even if she never hits another shot. What's NOT to like about her game? And she seems to be a fun person, too.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I love that she hits it a mile, smiles on every tee box and lives in Annika Sorenstam's old digs. That trophy room is filling up quick. Four majors by age 22? I'll say she gets to 15.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: She's only 22 and has four under her belt, so who knows — 20-25 majors? The power she generates through her swing is amazing. She's got a great personality, too. If only more people knew that she does speak English, and quite well.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I like everything about Yani's game. As good as her ballstriking and putting are, what is most impressive is her ability to raise her game for the most important tournaments. That's a gift few have. Her idol, Annika, won 10 majors. Tseng, if she stays healthy and motivated, might double that.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Yani wins 10 more majors by the time she turns 30. The LPGA isn't that deep, and it's not going to get any deeper with so few tournaments.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Earlier today our friend Brandel Chamblee was talking about her grip, how she holds the club like no one else on the LPGA, and that gives her a huge advantage in terms of length and distance control.

Godich: Yani is the clear-cut No. 1, but which woman is in the best position to challenge her?

Lipsey: Nobody. It's a race for No. 2, exactly like it was with Tiger at his peak.

Herre: Suzann Pettersen has a game as big as Yani's and may be an even tougher competitor. Cristie Kerr was also no fluke when she reached No. 1, and I've always thought she had the best putting stroke on the LPGA tour.

Gorant: It has to be someone who can keep up with Tseng off the tee. You would think, all things considered, that it would be Pettersen, but for some reason she rarely seems to be able to put it all together. After that, we're on graduation watch: Michelle Wie's from Stanford and Lexi Thompson's from high school.

Hack: I feel better about Pettersen after her win at the match play this year. She has the length and athleticism to keep pace with Yani. Jiyai Shin has proven she has the goods. Kerr and Paula Creamer have had great moments, too, but Yani stands alone.

Gorant: Shin and Creamer and to a lesser extent Kerr are just giving up too much in distance to consistently compete with Yani. They may have a week here and there, but they have to be so much better in every other phase of the game to keep up.

Evans: Cristie Kerr is the best of the lot, in terms of experience and ability.

Shipnuck: I love Jiyai Shin, but she has so much less firepower than Tseng. Ditto Miyazato. Creamer has a brittle body and appears to be easily distracted by the trappings of fame. Kerr has the putting stroke but always gets in her own way mentally. Pettersen can't close. Lincicome has tons of talent but not the drive to be great. Wie could be a legitimate threat, but she's too smart and well-rounded for a golfer; I don't think hitting balls will ever be enough for her. In short, there are no challengers for Yani.

Godich: I'm getting almost as tired of the Michelle Wie college fallback as I am of Tiger's ongoing swing overhaul. Shouldn't we expect more from Wie?

Wei: Having played in college, not even in the big leagues, I can say from personal experience that it's pretty difficult to focus on golf and school. I think she tweeted during the Kraft that she was taking a midterm in between rounds? Grinding through a tournament is hard enough without adding the stress of school and taking tests on the road. You almost have to choose one or the other. She's done a decent job.

Lipsey: Wie almost won majors as a teenager, so she set an Everest-high bar that she'll be measured against for the rest of her career.

Gorant: It's hard to expect a lot right now. Once she's a full-time golfer, she'll have to back it up with some Ws or fade from the conversation.

Hack: The LPGA schedule is so herky-jerky that all of the players are dealing with layoffs and rust, not just Michelle.

Herre: Could be that Wie's best days as a golfer are behind her. Maybe she simply wants a different kind of life. Pro golf might seem glamorous, but it's a grind and can be very lonely, especially for women.

Tell us what you think: How many majors will Yani Tseng win before she is done?

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