When Yani Tseng tees off this afternoon in the LPGA Tour’s Safeway Classic, the world No. 1 hopes to put the first prolonged slump of her professional career behind her with a new guy hauling her golf bag up and down the fairways of Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Golf Course.
Tseng appeared to pick up in 2012 where she left off in last year’s World Domination Tour by winning three of her first five starts. But the youngest golfer ever to win five majors has been in a swoon since June. She entered the week coming off two consecutive missed cuts, at the Evian Masters and last week’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, in addition to a T59 in the LPGA Championship, an MC at the NW Arkansas Championship, and a share of 50th in the U.S. Women’s Open.
Desperate to get her game out of the hazard and back on the fairway, Tseng will confer with Patrick Turley, her third caddie in the last four tourneys.
“I try everything I can,” Tseng told reporters on Wednesday, prior to this week’s 54-hole contest that kicked off today in North Plains, Ore.
Turley, a native of New Fairfield, Conn., has looped on the PGA Tour for Chris Riley and Chris DiMarco. He takes the luggage from Basil van Rooyen, who was on Tseng’s bag for the last two unsuccessful events and replaced Jason Hamilton, who helped his boss win 16 worldwide tournaments in the two years he worked for her.
Hamilton, who left Tseng after the U.S. Women’s Open, has hired on with Tseng’s good friend, Na Yeon Choi, the world’s fourth-ranked golfer who is among the heavy hitters at this week’s three-day tourney.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer