The HSBC Women's Champions, with its stellar field and superb course, is the perfect venue for Ya Ni Tseng to attempt to match winning streaks established by Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, and Tiger Woods. If she can make it 5-for-5 in 2011 at the Showdown in Singapore, I'll join the media chorus and my fellow bloggers who are calling this the Tseng Dynasty!
Even though JLPGAers Sun Ju Ahn, Sakura Yokomine, and Mi-Jeong Jeon have elected to start their 2011s in Okinawa next week, and Jee Young Lee and Jeong Jang are skipping the LPGA's season-opening Asian swing, the addition of the JLPGA's Chie Arimura and LPGA rookie Hee Kyung Seo to the group of LPGAers who played last week in Thailand (including sponsor exemptions Nicole Castrale and Jessica Korda), along with everyone who finished from from #56 to #63 on last year's money list (most notably the resurgent Eun-Hee Ji), more than makes up for the loss of LET '10 leading money-winner Lee-Anne Pace, Super Soph Mariajo Uribe, rookie sensation Jennifer Song, and Pornanong Phatlum from last week. This will be the strongest field Tseng has faced all year.
Given how good the official program for the tournament is and how useful its event history is, I won't do more than point you to my previews from 2008, 2009, and 2010, along with the results from 2009 and 2010 (right now the '08 results are lost in the ether on LPGA.com, although you can get a taste of them from my final-round post back then). Can Ya Ni Tseng match Ai Miyazato's feat of opening last season with wins in Thailand and Singapore? Let's put it this way: I'm not betting against her!
2. Kim In-Kyung
5. Miyazato Ai
11. Miyazato Mika
Alts: Hull, Yoo, Ji
It hurts not to put Stacy Lewis and Song-Hee Kim in my top 15, but that's the breaks. I'll have a separate post on the pairings when they're announced.
[Update 1 (2/23/11, 1:04 am): Here's that pairings post I promised!]
[Update 2 (10:40 am): Here's a tournament preview and pre-tournament interviews from LPGA.com.]