YE Yang produces the unthinkable - sinking Tiger Woods

By Rex HoggardAugust 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Sean OHair teed off first on a cloudy, Minnesota Sunday at the 91st PGA Championship and played without a noncompeting marker. Tiger Woods teed off last with one named Y.E. Yang, or so it seemed when the 110th-ranked player in the world became the only thing standing between the world No. 1 and Grand Slam No. 15.
 
Before he headed home for a restless nights sleep Saturday, the effusive Yang figured he was a 70-to-1 long shot ' a reference to Woods career Tour victories (70) and his own tally (one) ' to become the first player to run down Woods at a major championship on a Sunday. Truth is, Yang was probably closer to a 513-to-1 long shot, marking the spots where the two, respectively, began the year in the World Ranking.
 
Y.E. Yang makes eagle at the PGA Championship
Y.E. Yang reacts to his eagle chip-in on the 14th hole Sunday. (Getty Images)
It had to happen, or at least thats what Padraig Harrington and those who plow through buckets of range balls looking for answers tell themselves. Woods was 14-for-14 when entering the final round of a major with at least a share of the 54-hole lead. Yet as the regular suspects peeled away during a fevered final round the impossible, a 37-year-old Korean who took up the game at about the same age (19) as when Woods was taking over the game, became the perfectly placed.
 
Ive never seen a golfer put less pressure on himself to perform, said Brian Mogg, Yangs Florida-based swing coach. We talked all along that he might be the one to take (Woods) down because he has a rare gift to relax.
 
If Yang ' a Tour rookie who won this years Honda Classic ' was feeling the heat of history or the games greatest closer he never showed it.
 
The Minnesota masses wanted drama ' they got Y.E. Fleck.
 
Yangs three-stroke victory over Woods is not the greatest upset the game has ever seen, but behind Jack Flecks stunner over Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open and Francis Ouimets historic triumph over Harry Vardon and Edward Ray at the 1913 U.S. Open, its the leader in the clubhouse for this century.
 
Cats dont chase dogs, majors arent won on Fridays and Woods doesnt cough up 54-hole leads. Yet as a windy Sunday afternoon trundled on the impossible slowly became the inevitably, due in equal parts to Yangs steady play and Woods shaky putting.
 
By the time the days final two-ball reached the fifth hole Woods two-stroke lead was gone, the victim of Yangs birdie at the third and Woods three-putt bogey, his second consecutive three-pop on the hole, at the fourth. From there, Woods putting only got worse.
 
He missed birdie attempts inside 11 feet at the 10th (8 feet), 13th (11 feet) and 15th (11 feet) holes.
 
I just have to say terrible day on the greens, said Woods, who closed with a 75, his highest final round at a major since the 2004 U.S. Open. I either misread the putt or had bad putts. I did everything I needed to do except for getting the ball in the hole.
 
It was a missed 12 footer at the 17th that likely hurt the most, however. Trailing Yang by one shot, Woods tee shot caught a gust, sailed long and he failed to convert the par attempt.
 
From there Yang looked more like Woods than a rookie with a thin resume.
 
I wasn't that nervous, honestly, because it's a game, said Yang, who closed with a 70 for an 8-under total. It's not like you're in an octagon where you're fighting against Tiger and he's going to bite you or swing at you with his 9-iron. So the worst I can do was just lose to Tiger and probably go a few ranks down in the final scoreboard.
 
Charlie Wi, one of Yangs closest friends on Tour, called his mans putting stroke, beautiful, and, other than a late miscue at the 17th green, he was flawless on the greens. But it was a 52-degree wedge from 30 yards that ultimately secured Koreas first major championship.
 
From just short of the drivable par-4 14th green, Yang ran in his eagle try, taking the lead for the first time all week and igniting an otherwise stunned crowd. There were plenty of fist pumps the rest of the way, just none from Woods.
 
The two traded pars, and bogeys at No. 17, the rest of the way until Yang put an end to Woods quest for a fifth Wanamaker Trophy with a 3-iron hybrid from 210 yards that rolled to 8 feet for birdie at the last.
 
Woods, whose track record suggests he can be the cruelest of closers, could only watch as one of the circuits nicest guys took him apart.
 
Chaska, Minn., population 17,449 minus one silver keepsake, is the kindest corner of Americana. Nice folk? Oh sure, you betcha. And Yang is the perfect champion for one of the most polite points on the map.
 
When the general public gets to know him they are going to fall in love with him because he has a heart as big as this place, said Yangs caddie A.J. Montecinos as he clutched a Bible in the pocket of his bib.
 
For the second PGA Hazeltine National produced an unknown and utterly likeable champion. Rich Beem danced an awkward jig when he held off Woods at the 2002 PGA. On Sunday Yang hoisted his golf bag into the air to flash the South Korean flag and a wide smile.
 
The champion may have been unheralded, but this PGA began under sunny skies and with a leaderboard as bright as any major this year.
 
In order Vijay Singh, Lee Westwood, Lucas Glover, Harrington and Robert Allenby all flirted with the lead and ultimately failed.
 
Singh made a game of it before he left his belly putter in his locker and his title chances on Hazeltine Nationals bumpy greens, while Westwood came up short, again, and has assumed the role of European bridesmaid, posting his third third-place finish in his last seven majors.
 
Phil Mickelson made the cut on the number and nothing else. Lefty edged out just two players on Hazeltine Nationals greens for the week, both club pros, with 127 putts and Allenby, who has been driven to taking putting tips from Singh of all people, may have been the weeks best ballstriker but struggled to hole anything. And they say Augusta National is a putting contest.
 
The Heartbreak Slam was completed, however, when Harrington, fresh off his near miss at Firestone and rejuvenated, hit his tee shot into a pond, hit his third shot into the same pond (rinse, repeat) and almost hit his playing partner Henrik Stenson with another wayward attempt on Sunday at the eighth. Irish eyes winched when Harrington finally signed for a quintuple bogey-8, his third snowman in as many weeks and this one had nothing to do with a stopwatch.
 
I had been changing my chipping action a little and I probably was more into what I was doing rather than trying to get the ball up-and-down, said Harrington, who never recovered and finished tied for 10th after a closing 78.
 
But like Angel Cabrera (Masters), Lucas Glover (U.S. Open) and Stewart Cink (British Open), Yang was not a spoiler, just superior to everyone else thanks to a silky putter, steady driver and the perfectly relaxed demeanor for the most pressure-packed of situations.
 
Fifteen minutes before Yang teed off for his final round at this years Honda Classic he made a nervous phone call to Mogg.
 
I told him to get everything smooth and relaxed, Mogg said. Talk smooth, swing smooth, walk smooth.
 
On Sunday morning at Hazeltine National, Mogg texted Yang the same message, a simple lesson that had somehow eluded all that final-round road kill Woods had piled up over the years.
 
Who knew?
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.