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Tseng & Webb to Return to Action


Yani Tseng, Karrie Webb and the rest of the LPGA Tour's players will be ending a three-week break and returning to competition for this week's RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The 72-hole, $1.5 million event starts Thursday at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz.

The tournament, whose inaugural edition last year was won by Webb, celebrates the 13 founders of the Tour and will be donating $500,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program. The event features nine of the top-10 and 47 of the top-50 players in the world.

"To have this many major names signed on for the Founders Cup is unprecedented," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. "It's a true testament to what this tournament is all about - celebrating and honoring the women who worked so hard to make this sport what it is today, and they're sure to put on a show Valley golf fans won't soon forget."

"Last year was a very big win for me actually," said Webb, who donated her $200,000 first-place check in 2011 to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Japan Relief. "I hadn't won back-to-back tournaments in a long time, especially on the LPGA Tour, and it wasn't a shock, but it was great to back that first win up.

"And it is a very special tournament. I loved the concept from the beginning. We don't thank the people that came before us enough. To have three of the founders there was good for the younger girls to learn a little bit more about the people that started everything. They got to meet them and hear a bunch of great stories."

Tseng, who's earned Player-of-the-Year honors the past two seasons, won seven times on the LPGA Tour last year. The 23-year-old's only victory this season (there have only been three events so far) came in mid-February in the Honda LPGA Thailand, where she edged Japan's Ai Miyazato by a stroke thanks to closing with rounds of 65 and 66.

The Taiwan-born Tseng, who now makes her home in Orlando, Fla., is also excited to play in this week's tournament. "The Founders Cup is great because if we don't have those founders we wouldn't be here," she said Wednesday. "So I really appreciate that, to have those, they making the LPGA to all the junior, all the younger players have a dream to play on the tour, like I'm one of them. So I just really appreciate to be part of this."

Here's what else the superstar had to tell reporters during a Q&A with reporters at Wildfire.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex No. 1 Yani Tseng into the interview room. Thanks so much for joining us today. It's been a great start to the 2012 season for you already, coming off what was a very impressive 2011 season. You've had three straight Top 10 finishes, one win already, and the other two events you finished just a couple of shots, either one or two shots out of the playoff. I guess coming into this week how are you feeling about your game and how you've been able to play so far this year.

YANI TSENG: I feel good. I've been working really hard through my off season, and with the Asian three, I played well, but my distance was kind of off a little bit. I hit further on my iron, my driver and wood. So like after the three ways, I couldn't figure out how much distance I got, like hitting longer, so last week I was in Orlando with my coach and we work on some distance to make sure every club is like more consistent to hitting five or seven yards longer. So now I feel very comfortable on my distance now. And I don't have to be afraid if I hit the shot it's going to go longer or shorter, so I mean I just feel good about it.

My fitness has been very good, and I changed a little bit of my swing. I'm always very happy to be back here and play on this great golf course. I mean the course is a little narrow for me, but it's not much rough there. But you don't know where your ball is going, but I just need to be patient. So I'm very looking forward to play well this week.

MODERATOR: You won in Thailand for a second straight year and after that victory you talked a little bit about pressure you had felt to repeat 2011 and how that victory kind of helped take a little bit of pressure off you. Did you notice that a little bit when you were playing in Singapore that the pressure wasn't as great or do you feel a little bit of that pressure off of you as you head into this week?

YANI TSENG: Yeah, of course. I feel much better after I win in Thailand because when in Melbourne I was very stressful, putting so much pressure on myself, and then my team got me very I got very crazy. I mean it's very tough because I know I don't know if I can win again. I don't know if I can play well like last year, so I have been putting lots of pressure on myself. But after winning in Thailand gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can do it again, I know I can play well, and after those three weeks, I told my coach I feel I can win three, but we won. But I know I do my best for the last three weeks, and I still learned something from it and you just learn from your mistakes and you keep going and working hard, and to see what can I improve for these three weeks.

MODERATOR: What's the biggest difference for you being No. 1 in the world this year compared to when you had that title last year and it was still pretty new to you?

YANI TSENG: More pressure. I mean more pressure, but I still feel good about it. I still feel I'm very enjoying it. I mean for the new season starts, you see your friends on the tour. You see the media, fans, every week you kind of see different people you know from the past three years. So it's always good to be back on the tour and just enjoy everything I have. But like this year I figured I organize better my time and my schedule and when I have interview and I can have fun, I can balance with my time to practice, relax, do an interview. So I mean my team is doing a good job on this, and I know what's the best for me to do. So that makes more balance and more fun, too.

MODERATOR: Questions for Yani? After the extraordinary year that you had last year, now you're in this new year. You have your first win of the - you have your first win of the year. And you're going about it the same way you did last year, being grateful for what you have, being happy, one shot at a time, all those things. If you got to the end of the year and you only had that one win, would you still be satisfied with your year?

YANI TSENG: Hopefully not. I never thought about that. I wish I could win more than one this year. But like every tournament I think is big. I give 100 percent effort for every shot, every tournament. And I hope to do well, and like I said, I've been working hard on my off season and improving on my swing, so I'd love to see how much I can improve, my fitness, my skill, my mental things for this year. So I'm very excited to see how many wins I can have, so I don't expect I only have one. Hopefully not, though.

Q. When you said you went a little bit crazy with your team, what does that mean exactly?

YANI TSENG: Like I'm very picky. Doesn't matter what they eat, what they're listening, what they talk, I just very pick, why you say that, why you eat that, don't change the channel and don't listen to this music. Everything I'm just very picky. I don't know what I'm doing. They always tell me just relax, okay, don't worry about it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself and I always say, no, I feel relaxed. I have no pressure. I'm having fun. They're like, no, you're not. You look like you're really mad.

And like last winter in Melbourne I didn't go out. Normally I'm thinking we should go shopping, go watch movies, but no, I was in the hotel. Everything I'm thinking what time to go work out, what time I should go to the golf course or what can I improve today. Everything's about golf. But I mean before I always keep having fun, to go out, go sightseeing and see how beautiful the city, but not the week in Melbourne. So that's kind of not normal for me.

MODERATOR: So what are you doing this week to have fun and keep yourself loose?

YANI TSENG: I just going to go massage a little bit later, but after I see the golf course, go shop a little bit and maybe go watch movie a little bit, and next week I might go to Sea World on Monday. I don't know. I'm planning on being relaxed and not think about too much golf because when we have a week off and I prepare to play well and I'm working hard with a week off and I'm just ready for the tournament.

Q. I actually learned about you at Oak Valley golf course and I was just wondering how did you find Oak Valley and do you still go back?

YANI TSENG: Yes, actually I was there last week and with my sister. My sister still lives in Beaumont. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere. The first time I went there my dad have friends there, and he think that's a good place to practice for me because I live like five minutes from the golf course. So every day is like golf course and home because you can't go anywhere. You have to drive like an hour to go to have fun. So I mean that's a great place to practice, play on the Oak Valley is a very good golf course. And then some friends from Taiwan practice there, too, so you have a friend that you can hang out with. So it's really nice for me when I first two years started on the tour.

Q. Can you talk about the difference between last year's tournament, you guys played for charity and this year you guys get to keep the winnings. Does that change anything for you guys?

MODERATOR: Talking about how last year you guys played for charity at this tournament. Now what difference does it make having a purse and do you feel any differently going into the tournament?

YANI TSENG: You know, I feel the same. I mean 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. So it's not about money. It's about the title we want. It's about how much to see how much we can play on this golf course. I mean the Founders Cup is great because if we don't have those founders we wouldn't be here. So I really appreciate that, to have those, they making the LPGA to all the junior, all the younger players have a dream to play on the tour, like I'm one of them. So I just really appreciate to be part of this.

MODERATOR: This week one of the big things is $500,000 goes to girls golf and helping junior golf. I know that's been a big push for you in Taiwan. What's it mean to see all the young girls out here and have the founders who began this and now for you guys to kind of help push golf to another generation?

YANI TSENG: I know it's huge. I mean we so many girls play on the tour, everybody helps a lot for the ladies golf, junior golf and everybody has done a great job to doing this. Ladies golf has grown a lot over in Asia and United States. I mean Golf Channel covers more on the TV, more live on the TV. Everybody is going to see directly instead of taping. So I mean that's huge for those girls that you can always watch your idols in front of TV. And I mean we give our 100 percent effort to our country, all the players give 100 percent effort for their country, and every time when I go back to Taiwan and I try to help out the juniors and try to keep going to all the golf in Taiwan and even those people that they don't know about golf, but try to teach them, like introduce them to golf.

Q. So now that you're in Beaumont, are you out of Orlando altogether?

YANI TSENG: Yes. Most of the time I live in Orlando for two years already.

Q. Do you still have your place in Orlando?

YANI TSENG: Yeah, I do.

Q. So how do you find living on the other side of the country in a place where all you're doing is just practicing golf?

YANI TSENG: Like I mean for me I love living in the States. It doesn't matter if it's Orlando. Orlando for us is just so much easier for traveling because we have so many golf tournaments around the East Coast. But I love California. My sister lives there, my sister study there, so every time I go back to stay with my sister and to hang out together, but I mean I just love here. The people are so nice, and just like even people that you don't know, you still say hi. And I mean I just love those cultures.

Q. You get a lot of wind practice in Beaumont. Yes?

YANI TSENG: Yes. Yes. Even in Taiwan, Taiwan is very, very windy. So when I'm in Beaumont, I just feel the same.

MODERATOR: Any more questions for Yani? All right. Thank you very much.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.