I once asked Natalie Gulbis who the best person she's ever seen hit the ball was. Her answer, as most would expect, was Tiger Woods. She said it sounded different than anyone else in the game, and this is coming from a lady that has played golf with some of the best in the world.
That might be expected, but what you probably didn't expect was for someone on the LPGA to come along that resembled Woods in his prime.
That person is 22-year-old Yani Tseng, and on Thursday, she will set out to complete the career Grand Slam at the Women's U.S. Open, and if she does so, she will become the youngest man or woman to win all four of the big ones. Who does one of her fellow competitors compare Yani to at this point in her career? Yep, you guessed it, Tiger Woods.
"I knew when I first saw her that she was going to be something of a force," Christina Kim said. "She is in a great place with all aspects of her life and she seems to really enjoy herself again. She's in a place we saw back in the early 2000s a la Tiger."
Well, she better be enjoying herself. This year alone Tseng has won three LPGA events, including last month's LPGA Championship, where Yani won by an incredible 10 shots. Along with that, she claimed the Taifong Ladies Open, the Women's Australian Open and RACV Ladies Masters, all by a combined 14 shots.
It isn't that she's just winning tournaments, but she's winning the important ones. As a teenager, Yani won the LPGA Championship in a playoff against Maria Hjorth. She followed that up with the Nabisco Championship and British Open in the same season two years later, and has been on a tear this year, showing once again that she's the best player on tour and nobody's even close.
So can Yani add to her already impessive legacy this week at the Broadmoor? It is a golf course that sets up well for her. At over 7,000 yards, a long-hitter is going to be at a huge advantage, and Tseng is fifth on tour in driving distance, along with first in greens in regulation.
In an era on the PGA Tour where it seems the only dominant player is the guy that won the week before, the LPGA continues to produce talent that can ride that wave of momentum to multiple wins. The problem for the rest of the field is, it sure doesn't seem like Yani is ready to paddle back to shore, and if she can keep her focus, it would almost be a surprise not to see her hoisting that U.S. Open trophy come Sunday night.