Tseng Hopes to Get Back on Track in Evian Masters

Though she's still the top-ranked female player in the world, Yani Tseng has found her normally stellar game in a recent rut. The 23-year-old from Taiwan has won three times this year, bringing her total of LPGA victories to 15 after only four years, but her last title came in March at the Kia Classic.

The 10 tournaments since then haven't been that great for Tseng. She finished 50th in the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run after missing the cut the previous week in the NW Arkansas Championship.

In an effort to change things up, two days after the Open she dismissed her longtime caddie, Jason Hamilton. "Yani told Jason that she would like to have a break," said Tseng's manager Erine Huang at the time. "She is looking for someone, preferably from the PGA Tour or Champion Tour to caddie for the next tournament at Evian and see how it goes. She knows there are some great caddies on the LPGA but she doesn't like to recruit someone away from her fellow LPGA players."

"I wasn't surprised at all things have been weird for four or five weeks," responded Hamilton, who's moved on the PGA Tour to loop for Danny Lee.

Tseng is now set to work with her new caddie, Basil Von Rooyen - who once worked for the Champions Tour's Mark McNulty - for this week's Evian Masters, which starts Thursday at Evian-les-Bains in France. In 2013 the Evian Masters will become a major championship on the LPGA Tour.

"I'm feeling good," said Tseng. "I always love coming to Evian and the course is longer than before, which suits my game."

On Wednesday, Tseng met with reporters and discussed the state of her game, the new caddie and her chances to get back on track with a return to the winner's circle this week.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng into the interview room. Thank you so much for joining us today. Great to see you again. Always great to be back here in France. Just take me through your thoughts of being back here at the Evian Masters and how much you enjoy this beautiful golf course.

YANI TSENG: I mean, I'm very, very exciting to come back here. It's a beautiful place. This golf course is very, very challenge, so every year I always wish I play better every year and try to winning the tournament and stay at the Royal Hotel. This is kind of always my goal for this week. Enjoy the fans here, the beautiful view in France here. It's kind of very exciting. Every time I came here I feel very peaceful. It's kind of a feel fresh for me and just to enjoy this week. This is one of my favorite tournaments on the tour.

MODERATOR: Talk about feeling fresh, I know it's been a little bit of a rough stretch lately for you. It's funny how after such a dominant year last year, I'm sure the questions come of what's wrong with Yani. It hasn't been that bad necessarily, but what's been the difference for you over the past few tournaments and what have you done over the past couple weeks to get yourself back into what you feel is the form you need?

YANI TSENG: I think I just feel a little more pressure. I kind of thinking too much and trying too hard to play well like I did before. I only play two, three bad tournament, and feel like the end of the world. Like everybody was asking me what's wrong with me, what happened to your game. But there was nothing wrong. It's really hard to play well every week. I always do my best to play well, and I learning a lot from mistake last two months. I think I'm ready to go. I feel fresh. I don't look back. I don't feel like I do anything wrong. I still keep working hard and try to balance my life. I feel very comfortable this week and I feel very confidence, too. Just can't wait to go out and see how I play this week.

MODERATOR: We were talking to Ai Miyazato earlier, and she said last year she only had one victory but didn't feel like it was a bad year. But of course coming off the year before where she had such a great year she had the same sort of questions. Is it amazing how quickly it can shift for a player to feeling confident and things come easy, and then for some reason all of a sudden is it doesn't come quite as easy?

YANI TSENG: Yeah, it's pretty hard be world No. 1. This is kind of my second year. No one knows how hard. It's not just playing good golf. Everything around the golf course I need to handle. All the medias and fans and pressure on the golf course and sponsors, it's really hard. I found out it's not that easy. But I think I'm getting better every time and learning a lot. I have a good team behind me to helping out those things. I mean, I know even you tell me that Ai has only won one tournament, but nobody cares because everybody knows she's a great player. We don't think if she didn't win a tournament she couldn't play golf anymore. We still feel like she's still the best golfer and can win tournaments.

Sometimes I look at myself from other players' angle. Maybe people wasn't think I play bad last two months. They probably just forgot. After the week they probably still think I have a chance to win this week. That's the way I look at other players. It's hard to winning every tournament. You enjoy, you try your best, and you're learning from other players. That's why golf is so challenge. I'm still have lots of passion.

MODERATOR: I know you do have one change this week. You have new caddie on the bag, Basil, who is a veteran on the PGA Tour. Take me through your decision making in deciding to make a switch in caddie and what you're looking forward to working with Basil.

YANI TSENG: Jason Hamilton, the caddie I have before, he's a very good guy and great caddie, too. He been helping me out a lot. We winning a lot of tournaments together. But I had a little struggle these couple months, and I just feel like both of us, we need to do take a little break. It's not like I still think he can help me, but I think it's more my problem, because every time I hitting bad I kind of blame on him. I don't like that, so I tell him that we need a little break and see how it's going in the future. So I just found a caddie after tell him, and Basil was on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, and he been working on there for like 30 year. First time for him to come to Evian, you know, and first time to caddie on the LPGA. So I'm very exciting for that, and I think he is, too. I'm very much looking forward to work with him.

Q. What did you learn from your last Evian Masters, and what is your strategy for this year?

YANI TSENG: This is my five year, and I always try very hard to figure out the green. The green is very hard. You think everything is from the mountain, but sometimes breaks toward the mountain. I think the green is most challenging on this golf course. The distance is not really long, but you just need to hit on the fairway and try to put a good spot. Sometimes when you hit a good shot it's not going to hit on a good spot, too. So you just need to be patient this week and try to make as more birdie you can and don't make a big number. I don't know. This year I feel much more confidence than other years. I feel very exciting, because maybe my (indiscernible) is going low. So I just feel like I'm ready to have some fun this week.

Q. Tell us about the balance you found in your life.

YANI TSENG: I think I have a good team, very good team behind me. They try to take care of everything and just let me focus on the golf. Because last year when I become the world No. 1, I kind of get a lot more attention and try to do as more as I can, and then I don't have time to rest and practice. After that, we kind of getting better. We do the media but we have time it rest, I have time to practice, too, I have time to go out with my friends and have fun, go watch movie instead of just practice and do the media thing. So those balance my life and I feel much better. And with my family, my family comes and I have time to go back to Taiwan and visit my family. So those things makes me really relax and happy.

Q. (Question regarding magazine cover.)

YANI TSENG: I haven't seen it, but the picture looks pretty good. I'm always really happy to be on the covers, doesn't matter which ones. It's very exciting because I think the cover is in Evian here, so it's going to be lots of people see it. So it's going to be very exciting. Very appreciative.

MODERATOR: This is the last year that this tournament is going to be Evian Masters, a regular event on the LPGA Tour. Next year it will take on the status as the LPGA's fifth major. There have been some slight changes to the golf course they've made in preparation for next year. What are your thoughts? Have you been out there and noticed any changes yet on the golf course?

YANI TSENG: Yeah, I know there are some changes. I practiced 18 holes on Monday and nine holes on Tuesday, and there is couple holes that the length is very long, like the par 3 on 14 and No. 1 goes back 30 yards. But actually I feel better, because when they put the tee up I just feel the fairway was very narrow. When they moved back, I feel the fairways was much wider. So the longer you move I think it's better for me. So I think the golf course, the green was so smooth and so fast this year. And the rough is really tough. I think the course is getting harder and harder.

Every time we came here we always feel it's another major, so I don't feel like there is any big change. And I don't want to change anything, too, because, I mean, every time if you think about a major, you always get a major pressure, everything. But I'm still just exciting to come back here to see the view, the town here. Always enjoy, so I'm very looking forward to see how I feel. Maybe next year comes and everybody feel pressure. But I have no idea.

MODERATOR: Any more questions for Yani? Thank you very much. Best of luck this week.

YANI TSENG: Thank you.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.