Date: February 01, 2011

In good company

The next 12 months will be big for these three players. True, any year on the LPGA Tour is big. But there&aposs plenty at stake here for Jiyai Shin, Yani Tseng and Katherine Hull. Shin, World Number 1, wants to keep hold of her top spot but also wants other things and not just wins. “The last couple of years I have had a good chance for the Player of the Year,” Shin said. “I want to get that. On the LPGA Tour they have a lot of good Koreans but we have never got the Player of the Year. I would like to be the first Korean. ” But in shooting to become 2011 Rolex Player of the Year, Shin doesn&apost want to make her career more stressful than it needs to be. “My No. 1 goal is to enjoy the Tour. So many players get stressed from the golf. First I want to enjoy it and my life,” Shin said. She hopes to start her season this week with her first victory in Australia – and she was a playoff away from doing that in 2008 at Kingston Heath. Yani Tseng was a two-time major winner in 2010 and Player of the Year but it&aposs about wiping the slate clean. “This is a new year for me. My coach tells me, don&apost look back. It has all passed. It is a new year and I have a new goal. It is not how many tournaments I want to win. It is not Player of the Year,” Tseng said. For the defending champion, fitness is one of those goals. Tseng has battled tendonitis in her elbow on and off for about four years. “I take pain killers because it really hurts. The doctors always want to give me a shot. I don&apost want that. I put it in ice every day. Ice is my best friend right now,” Tseng said. Coming back for a second consecutive year, Tseng said the Australian events are coming to great prominence overseas. “Everyone knew I won the Australian Open. Nobody knows the tournaments I win in Taiwan. Australia is really big around the world. They know there are good tournaments and good fields.” Katherine Hull enjoyed a solid 2010 and the highlights made it a struggle to separate the win at the LPGA&aposs Navistar Classic in August with narrow loss at the British Open to Yani Tseng. “I obviously drew a huge lot of confidence from the British, but disappointed at the same time when it comes down to one shot,” Hull said. “Playing the week after in Ireland helped me get over it a little faster, but that&aposs golf, it&aposs what happens. The lesson that I learned is that I have to work harder on my short game and I did that and that&aposs why I was able to win Navistar.” Hull is also facing some big moments in her career in 2010. Just three ranking spots by Karrie Webb, Hull faces the very real possibility of becoming Australia&aposs top female player. “I think people have been saying that for a couple of years and they&aposre just waiting for it to happen,” Hull said. “I&aposm ok with it and it would be an honour, too. Obviously I&aposve got a bit of catching up to do if I&aposm going to get to the Hall Of Fame, but Karrie has always done great things for golf in Australia and I admire her for her dedication and success she&aposs had. If I have half of that, I&aposll be lucky.” The Queenslander said she feels like her her career “model” is starting to become clear. “I think I&aposve figured out the border of the jigsaw puzzle, so this year the goal is top five (on the LPGA Money List),” Hull said. “Ultimately the goal&aposs number one — but that is going to take a few years. I believe I&aposve got the game, it&aposs just a matter of how hard I&aposm willing to work.” With potentially unstable conditions forecast, the course will require patience. “The harder the conditions the more I like it, because it challenges you to play more shots. One thing I&aposve worked a lot harder on in the last couple of years is shaping the ball and moving the ball.That&aposs why I did well in Atlantic City because it was a links-style golf course with strong winds,” Hull said. Whatever the weather does and however the course plays, Shin, Tseng and Hull will have an impact over the four days.