Entering Sunday, it seemed a foregone conclusion: Rose Zhang was going to win the Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol this weekend, despite being a few shots adrift when the final round started.
But her -4 67 on Sunday left her at -5, three shots behind the winner Ruoning Yin in Springfield, NJ on Sunday.
Zhang now drops to just .500 in LPGA events as a professional golfer, and has yet to win a major tournament. Winning a U.S. Amateur, two NCAA individual championships, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and Pan Am Games gold is nice, but whatever.
Tiger Woods famously won his first major as a pro at the 1997 Masters, and then got to 15 career majors. At this rate, Zhang will finish with zero career wins in the professional tournaments that matter the most. There is no comparison between the two Stanford golfers at this time.
Rose Zhang: What a fraud.
We can realize that we’re witnessing history with Zhang every time she puts a peg in the ground. It took Tiger Woods five tournaments as a pro to lift a trophy, and he finished T60 at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open in the first event where he could take a (non-Nike) check.
The comparisons between Zhang and Woods are as inevitable as they are unfair to the LPGA star, and not just because of their mutual alma mater. Both changed the sport they were playing as precocious 20-year-olds after doing things heretofore unseen in the game. They both had all the shots, and seem completely unflappable under even extreme pressure.
And they both might just be that much better than their competition on the best golf tour in the world.
The U.S. Women’s Open comes to Pebble Beach for the first time in just 12 days, and Zhang will look to take home her first major. You might remember Woods winning his first U.S. Open on that same idyllic stretch of California coastline in 2000. But Woods bricked the first three USGA events he played after turning professional, going T19, T18, T3 before finally, finally, taking home the winner’s medal in the millennium year. (by 15 shots).
Tiger Woods: What a fraud.