PHOENIX (AP) – Top-ranked Yani Tseng and defending champion Karrie Webb are too busy trying to win tournaments to get caught up in actually getting paid in the LPGA Founders Cup.
Last year in the inaugural RR Donnelley-sponsored event, the players competed for a mock purse and charity donations. This year, the winner will receive $225,000 in real money from the $1.5 million purse.
“I feel the same,'' Tseng said Wednesday, a day before the start of play at Wildfire Golf Club. “Every tournament, it's just a matter if we play for charity or we play to have money because I mean everybody wants to win in a tournament. It's not about money, it's about the title.''
“I don't know for me if it has a different feel,'' the Hall of Famer said. “I think I certainly appreciate – and I know all the girls do – appreciate the extra support that RR Donnelley contributed this year. I think it's fantastic of them to step up. The only difference is that there isn't any negative questions being asked about such a great concept. I think it's all positive this year.''
The tournament is the tour's fourth of the year and first in the United States.
Jessica Korda opened with a playoff victory in the Women's Australian Open, Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title, and Angela Stanford took the HSBC Women's Champions in a playoff in Singapore on Feb. 26.
“Winning in Thailand gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can do it again, I know I can play well,'' said Tseng, the Taiwanese star who led the tour last season with seven victories – including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open – and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.
Last year, Webb won the event for her second straight tour victory and 38th overall. Brittany Lincicome and Paula Creamer tied for second, a stroke back.
“I feel like it's pretty close,'' Webb said. “I made some changes in the offseason to my swing, just to tidy things up a little bit. It's becoming more consistent. So I need to work on that to where I feel like it's there day in and day out. My coach, Ian Triggs, will be here next week, so it's a matter of if I can take it from the range to the course. But I'm not quite carrying it out on the course consistently. And sometimes I think that's just because I've done so much technical work on the range that I'm taking that technical thought process out on to the course and I really need to figure it up a little bit.''
Tseng also is tinkering in a bid to improve her distance control.
“I've been working really hard through my off season,'' Tseng said. “With the Asian three, I played well, but my distance was kind of off a little bit. I hit farther on my iron, my driver and wood. So, after the three, I couldn't figure out how much distance I got, like hitting longer. Last week, I was in Orlando with my coach and we worked on some distance to make sure every club is like more consistent to hitting 5 or 7 yards longer. So now I feel very comfortable on my distance. And I don't have to be afraid if I hit the shot it's going to go longer or shorter, so I just feel good about it.''