Preview: Yani Tseng still No. 1, but for how long?

Yani Tseng during her round on Saturday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Yani Tseng during her round on Saturday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The numbers don’t lie: The Grand Canyon-sized chasm that once existed between Yani Tseng and the rest of the world now resembles a crack in the sidewalk. She’s beatable. And it could be only a matter of time before someone steps right over her.

At the start of 2012, top-ranked Tseng held a 7.34 points advantage over Suzann Pettersen in the Rolex Rankings. Tseng was 7.68 points clear of Na Yeon Choi and a whopping 10.87 ahead of No. 10 Stacy Lewis.

Fast forward to the end of 2012, however, and the landscape looked much different. Choi closed the gap to 1.91, a very manageable deficit for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion. And Lewis, the 2012 LPGA Player of the Year, was 2.54 points behind Tseng.

Tseng, a 15-time tour winner, tried to be positive at the year-end Rolex awards banquet, where she was seated with the media but wasn’t the story. The previous two seasons, Tseng had taken home the evening’s biggest awards; in 2012, she took home Rolex’s party favor – a box of assorted chocolates.

Gary Gilchrist, Tseng’s swing instructor, said that if Tseng were to get passed in the rankings it “might be a gift.” The challenge of chasing someone again could be just what’s needed.

“The important thing is that you’re always looking forward,” Tseng said at the end of the season. “You learn from the (past), but you don’t want to look back too much.”

Especially now that the competition is coming up fast.

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