A young woman stands on a field of green grass. She has short, dark hair and intense eyes. With both hands, she holds a long, thin metal golf club. In the distance, there is a small flag marking a hole in the ground. That hole is the woman’s target. She raises the club to her side and up behind her back. Then she moves it forward with one quick motion. The bottom of the club hits a small, white ball. It hits with amazing power. The ball flies almost ninety meters through the air. It lands safely on an area of green grass. Crowds of people cheer for the woman. She raises her head and begins walking. She is smiling and talking to the crowd. She is full of joy and energy. This is the famous female golf player Yani Tseng. Today’s Spotlight is on Yani Tseng, her success and her desire to never give up!
People began playing golf in the 15th century. The sport started in the country of Scotland. But since that early time, golf has spread around the world. Today, millions of people play golf for fun. But a few, very skilled players are professionals – they are golfers that compete for awards and money.
Yani Tseng is one of these professional golfers. However, she is not just any professional golfer. She is the world’s best female golf player. In 2011, she was rated the number one golf player on the Official World Women’s Golf Ranking List. This is a major honor. And the surprising thing is: Yani Tseng is only 22 years old.
Yani Tseng is from the country of Taiwan. She was born in 1989. And she began playing golf when she was only 6 years old. When she was 12, she decided to become a professional golfer. Yani knew this dream was big. And she knew it would not be easy. But her family supported her goal. Yani remembers this time well. She talked with the China Times Group about it. She explained that her father paid for the many competition costs. She said,
“This let me learn to be fearless and not be afraid of failing. It is possible that I was even influenced by my father’s character. I always continued to fight even after I suffered repeated defeats.”
As a young woman, Yani began to win more and more golf games in Taiwan. But then she began playing internationally. There, the level of competition was greater than she had imagined. She lost many games, but she continued to compete. Many golfers would have stopped playing. But Yani did not. And Yani’s years of hard work and struggle turned into success.
In 2008, Yani became the youngest Taiwanese woman to become part of the Ladies Professional Golf Association or LPGA. And later that year, she was given the best new LPGA player award. However, this was only the beginning of her professional success. In 2010, Yani won two major golf competitions. Few professionals achieve this kind of success! And that year, Yani also won the LPGA’s highest award – the Rolex Player of the Year. 2011 has also been a great year for Yani’s golfing. She is now listed first on the Official World Women’s Golf Ranking List.
With all this success, people may think Yani is completely different than most 22-year-old women. But they would be wrong! Yani may have amazing skill. She may also have experienced many things other young women have not. But even with these differences, Yani is still very normal in many ways. Yani likes to watch films and spend time with friends. She is extremely friendly. And she enjoys playing many sports. And like many young people, Yani is still working on her education.
One main part of her education has been learning English. This has not been an easy goal. And Yani has spent much time working on her English in the last few years. In fact, after winning the 2010 Player of the Year award, Yani took time off from her golf competitions. Instead, she spent a month attending daily English classes. She has already learned a lot of English, but she still wants to improve. She told an NBC reporter about the recent classes,
“I would go to school in the morning, then I would play golf in the afternoon. I want to improve my English so I can share my story better with people. I do not think many people know I can speak a bit of English. But I like to speak with people, so this helps.”
Yani has many chances to use her English. She now lives and trains in the United States. And many days, she has to talk to English speaking reporters. She knows her English has improved over the years. And she recognizes that it is making a difference. She told NBC,
“It makes me more brave. I can tell some jokes. And it helps me when I am playing golf and talking with people – I am not afraid to speak with people now.”
But Yani does not want to stop with her own education. She told the China Times Group,
“I dream of establishing a school for young children – a school that would combine education and sports… I believe sport can change a person’s life. If I did not play golf, I would not have the chance to meet many different people.”
Yani Tseng has definitely had an amazing few years. However, all of her success began with struggle. She remembers the many, many golf games she lost as a child. But she also remembers that she never stopped competing. In the same way, Yani has not stopped working on her education. She often feared speaking English in public. She told NBC,
“When I was young, during my first year of playing golf, I did not speak much English. I was afraid to speak to reporters. I was always smiling. When people were talking to me, I was just smiling. But not now. Now, I have been talking more and I keep learning.”
It is this attitude that has made Yani a success – both in golf and in English learning. She will not stop trying or stop learning. And with this attitude, who knows what this young woman will do in the future!
The writer of this program was Robin Basselin. The producer was Ryan Geertsma. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net.
This program is called, “Yani Tseng: I Keep Learning.”
We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!
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