Just imagine if Rory McIlroy already had four major titles, stood on the brink of the career Grand Slam, climbed into contention nearly every time he teed off and was committed to playing in the United States every chance he had.
Then he would be Yani Tseng.
It's fascinating to watch golf struggle to fill the vacuum left by the absence of familiar, established stars. McIlroy captivated fans with his performance last month at the U.S. Open, finally creating some of the buzz missing since Tiger Woods tumbled into a strange new world.
On the women's side, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa each departed the scene in the prime of her career. They defined the LPGA much the way Woods defines the PGA Tour, storming to resounding victories and stirring historic comparisons along the way.
That's starting to happen on the LPGA again, but Tseng sails beneath the radar for any number of reasons. Start with the tour's virtual invisibility: This week's U.S. Women's Open in Colorado Springs is only the ninth domestic tournament of the year (and 12th overall).
Tseng is from Taiwan, and the unfortunate reality is many American fans only pay close attention when American players are reeling off wins. That's short-sighted because Tseng, much like McIlroy, meshes transcendent talent with a pleasant demeanor.
Tseng, like McIlroy, is just 22. She also began playing at a young age (6), leading to a decorated amateur career, early entry into the professional realm and wild success soon after landing on tour.
She enters the Open as the undisputed No. 1 player in the world, with wins in three of the past six majors. Tseng already has eight career victories, including four majors, and a victory this week would make her the youngest player ever, male or female, to complete the career Grand Slam.
Also relevant: She's always in the hunt. Tseng has eight top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season. That's one reason McIlroy's triumph at Congressional carried so much weight -- he threatened at each of the previous three majors, giving him a connection to fans.
Tseng, again like McIlroy, displays admirable respect for those who came before her. She went a step further, not only seeking guidance from Sorenstam but also buying her old house in Orlando.
Tseng similarly found inspiration in the way McIlroy crushed the field at Congressional.
"I always feel so much pressure on U.S. Open courses," she said earlier this week. "But after I see Rory do it, I feel much (more) relaxed. ... You've just got to come out and have fun, enjoy the pressure and enjoy the big crowds."
It took some time, but Tseng now seems more comfortable speaking publicly. She took English classes the past two years, making her more confident using the language in conversations with peers, sponsors and the media.
Tseng also found a refuge at Lake Nona, the Orlando country club where many PGA Tour players live. She's become friends with Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Trevor Immelman, practicing together and challenging them to chipping contests.
The LPGA, in many ways, needs Tseng to keep winning. She could give the tour the dominant player it needs, even if Paula Creamer or Michelle Wie would resonate more with U.S. fans. Safe to say, a Creamer-Tseng tussle on Sunday at a major would make for great theater.
Tseng brings simpler motivation. Sorenstam left behind a huge trophy case at the house in Orlando. Tseng quickly filled several spots with small replica trophies from her tournament victories. One spot in the case is much larger -- to accommodate the Open trophy.