Taiwanese golf sensation Yani Tseng received any early Christmas present this year — she has been crowned the Female Athlete of the Year by the US Sports Academy, in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports, chosen by hundreds of thousands of sports fans worldwide in online balloting. The ballot included 12 men and 12 women from 15 countries and lasted from Dec. 1 to Monday. Tseng, from Taoyuan County’s Gueishan Township, had been named the academy’s Female Athlete of the Month twice this year, following stellar performances in July and September.
She had a historic season, claiming her fifth major championship this year at the age of 22, which made her the youngest golfer, male or female, to do so. When Pak Se-ri and Tiger Woods won their fourth major titles, they were both 24 years old. Tseng’s victory in the British Open was her second straight and had at the time been her fourth victory out of the past five women’s major tournaments.
Tseng finished the year at No. 1 in scoring average, driving distance, birdies and rounds under par en route to her second consecutive Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Player of the Year award. She collected seven LPGA titles, including two majors, as well as four other international events, and has now spent 45 straight weeks at the top of the Women’s World Golf Rankings.
The runner-up to Tseng in the Female Athlete of the Year voting was Japanese figure skater Miki Ando, who had won the women’s World Figure Skating Championship in Moscow by overcoming last year’s Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-na. It was Ando’s second world title.