Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing email@example.com, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon. Today, we discuss Yani Tseng, and if her dominance on the LPGA should have her transitioning over to the PGA Tour for a chance with the boys.
Bacon: Very quietly, over on the LPGA, Yani Tseng has taken over the tour. She has won seven times this year along, including two victories in the last month. She hits it long, makes a lot of putts, and seems downright dominant over women's golf right now. So, the obvious question must be asked; should Yani take her talents to the PGA Tour in an attempt to make a cut like so many have done in the past?
Busbee: Abso-freaking-lutely. I'm all for it. I like gimmicky events anyway (yes, I actually do enjoy the Skins game), but this rises above that. She's a phenomenal talent, and the ability to blast a ball a country mile off the tee isn't as important as short-game, around-the-green mastery. I wouldn't see it as a gimmick, but as an opportunity that she's certainly earned. And you?
Bacon: I'm all in for Yani. Unlike Annika trying this back at the Colonial, Tseng can actually keep up with some of the shorter hitters on the PGA Tour and unlike Michelle Wie way back when, Yani is good enough right now to set her sights not just on making the cut, but competing. Do I think she could win on the PGA Tour? No, I'm not going to be silly, but the way she's playing right now, a top-25 isn't completely out of the question.
Busbee: Yeah, that's the key, not embarrassing either herself or the women's game. And I agree with you, I think that she can play perfectly well; inside 150 yards, the differences between the genders are minimal at best. Here's the followup to that question, though: what kind of pressure do you think she'd face? Is the PGA Tour ready for a woman that might actually have some game? (Not that Annika didn't, but you know what I mean.)
Bacon: It seems anytime a girl offers up her services in men's golf, it becomes a huge story, and you always have supporters in the men's golf and people opposing the idea. I think the PGA Tour would be more open to someone like Yani trying it just because she has been so incredible this season, and how could you not be for this? It's sad the PGA Tour season is over, because this would have been great for something like the Disney or the Justin Timberlake, mostly because it would have been a top news story in sports.
The pressure she'd face is similar to what we saw with Annika, but these players are used to pressure. Yes, the stage would be larger than any tournament she would have ever played in, but that's a good thing. Yani needs more attention. She's too good not to be a bigger story. Playing on the PGA Tour might just help her achieve that needed spotlight.
Busbee: I'd like to think that we're advanced enough as a society not to go the OH MY LORD IT'S A GURRRL PLAYIN GUYZ GOLF routine, but then again this is a sport that still happily enforces gender lines, just under-the-table. Still, Yani seems like the ideal kind of player to do this. She's proven herself, and it wouldn't be a clearly sponsor-driven situation like some others we could name.
So we're on the same page with letting her in the tourney. Now, the question becomes, which tourney? You mentioned the Fall Swing, which would be a great boost. But why not shoot higher? What about the Memorial or Bay Hill? The stamp of approval of Jack and Arnie would do a lot to snuff out any argument, that's for sure.
Bacon: I think it's a great idea to have her play in a large profile event, but the problem is, I think the Memorial and Bay Hill are too tough. They set those courses up nearly major-championship like, and if she really wants to make a cut and have a good shot at competing, it would have to be on a golf course that sets up well for her (shorter, emphasis on precise iron play, not too tough of rough).
I think something like the Colonial is perfect. Go the same route as Annika and hope for the best.
Busbee: And woe to the poor bastards who finish behind her. Because those nasty sports blogs would have a field day mocking the dudes that got beat by a girl. Filthy blogs.
And your thoughts ... should Yani try her hand on the PGA Tour?
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