JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Yani Tseng is starting to draw comparisons with Tiger Woods when he was at his absolute best.
Coming off a year in which she won 12 times around the world, Tseng started a new season by winning three of the opening five tournaments on the LPGA Tour schedule. In the other two, she missed a playoff by two shots in Australia and one shot in Singapore.
Her points total atop the women’s world ranking is nearly double that of Na Yeon Choi at No. 2. Tseng already has $792,186, more than the next two players combined and the equivalent of No. 27 on the PGA Tour, astounding when you consider the disparity of prize money.
Heading into the first LPGA major of the year, Tseng is the overwhelming favorite.
If she were to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week, Tseng already would have six majors. And if she were to pick off the U.S. Women’s Open this summer, she would have the career Grand Slam.
Not bad for someone who turned 23 just two months ago, and who is starting her fifth year on tour.
More than adding to her collection of majors, a win this week would put Tseng on the cusp of meeting the performance criteria for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Either way, she would appear to be a shoo-in to get the required 27 points this year.
And that’s where the comparisons with Woods take shape.
Is she that good? Or is her competition lacking?
These are the questions that Woods faced when he won seven out of 11 majors in one stretch early in his career, and then backed it up by winning six out of 14. Jack Nicklaus was among those who lamented the lack of multiple major winners like what Nicklaus faced in his day. Tom Watson was among those suggesting that history might prove Woods was simply that much better.
Comparisons tend to be as pointless between generations as they are between genders.
The LPGA Tour, however, has been getting the short shrift for years.
Years ago, Karrie Webb pointed out that if a woman won a major at 19-under par, then the course was said to be too easy. And if a woman won a major at 6-over par, then they just weren’t very good.
That’s how the LPGA Hall of Fame is perceived, and Tseng is sure to add to the debate.
Tseng would become the fifth woman to reach the performance standards in seven years or fewer. The others were Webb, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Lorena Ochoa.