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Bloodshot eyes and a final Olympic push

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Presidents Cup

PGA champion Y.E. Yang arrived at the Presidents Cup with a bloodshot right eye. Not streaked with pink, but rather a dark red blot toward the inside corner.

He said it was a blood vein that popped and that it was nothing serious.

Yang also knows how it happened. Attribute it to the price of celebrity from being the guy who took down Tiger Woods.

“Since the PGA Championship, it’s been a tiresome two months,” Yang said. “I’m not saying it was unpleasant – it was very enjoyable – but it was a long, long schedule and I was out of my routine. And that’s why I got a little stressed out. One of my veins popped.”

Yang said it burst about five days ago, and it would take about two weeks to heal.

“It’s getting to where it’s the grossest right now,” he said. “But it will be better.”

As for the biggest change to his routine, Yang would start with Harding Park. He would not have made the International team for the Presidents Cup without winning the PGA Championship; it moved him to No. 9 in the standings in the final week of qualifying.

More changes are ahead.

Yang figures he will be playing more tournaments because of his victory, which translates to longer seasons.

As for the stress?

There is a chance he could get a rematch with Woods because captains can manipulate the pairings. The final day is singles, and putting Woods and Yang together might carry the most appeal.

Yang joked at Hazeltine that he doesn’t want to play Woods again. If it comes to that, he at least has experience.

“I will try to play with a similar strategy, to try to play my own game and I won’t try to force anything,” Yang said. “It’s going to be tough, but I’ll try to keep my calm.”


VILLEGAS EXPERIENCE: Camilo Villegas is making his Presidents Cup debut. He has not played on a team since he was in Florida, and it was inspiring to return to his hotel room and see the uniforms in place.

Just don’t get the idea the Colombian lacks experience in this format.

Being at the Presidents Cup reminds him of his junior days when he played in the South American Championship. He said each country had five players and they played different nations at once – foursomes one day, fourballs another day, followed by singles.

“You could play two matches at the same time,” he said. “So I would be playing Argentina and Brazil one day. It was my favorite event, and I’m very excited to be back doing something similar.

“I love it, man. I love this format,” he said. “I’m just excited to be part of this team.”


YANG AND THE BRUINS: Y.E. Yang spent two days playing The Institute, a hidden gem south of San Jose owned by John Fry and his brothers of Fry’s Electronics. They plan to move the Fry’s.com Open there when the time is right, and they have been inviting PGA Tour players over the last few years to take a look.

Yang was on his way to the course Sunday when he reached into his bag and realized he only had one ball. Staying at the Corde Valle Resort, he went to the pro shop only to discover it didn’t have Taylor Made golf balls. Yang didn’t feel it would be right, even in a private setting, to play something other than what he endorses.

Just his luck, the UCLA golf team was on the course.

Resort workers went to the team and asked if they could use a couple of golf balls. They collected six – all with the UCLA logo – and Yang was set.

Consider him a Bruins fans now. And he certainly caught on to the school spirit. Also playing The Institute that day was Jamie Lovemark, who won an NCAA title playing for Southern Cal.

Yang tossed him one of the balls and smiled. Lovemark tossed it back.


NORMAN’S SCHEDULE: It’s not easy for Greg Norman to handle all his captain’s duties with his right arm in a sling, courtesy of surgery last week on his shoulder. Sure, he could have waited. Then again, he was looking at the bigger picture.

The Shark wants to be ready for his limited winter schedule, which includes the Australian Open the first week of December, followed by the Shark Shootout.

Norman is the host, and he plans to have U.S. captain Fred Couples as his partner.

“We had a good agreement, Freddie and I, so I’m working my way back for the Australian Open and the Shootout,” Norman said. “That’s my schedule. That’s my goal. There’s a lot of rehab to take place between now and then, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll be back hitting balls 10 days before then.”


FINAL OLYMPIC PUSH: Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and Michelle Wie are going to Copenhagen this week to help golf make its final push to get into the Olympics.

Harrington, Wie, Suzann Pettersen of Norway and 16-year-old British Amateur champion Matteo Manassero of Italy will join golf’s Olympic executive in making the final presentation.

PGA Tour vice president Ty Votaw, who has led golf’s bid along with Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson, said it was important to show that golfers from all parts of the world, both professional and amateur, want golf in the Olympics.

In the most recent presentation in June, Votaw and Dawson were joined by Annika Sorenstam and Colin Montgomerie.

The IOC executive board recommended that golf and rugby sevens be added to the Olympic program in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, which was selected as the host city last week. The full vote on adding sports will be Friday.


DIVOTS: Camilo Villegas had a 2-inch scab below his right elbow, a scratch that was healing, and another wound that could not be shown. With a wistful smile, he confessed: During a trip home to Colombia, while riding his bike, the front tire blew out and Villegas tumbled over the handle bars. … Steve Stricker prepared to hit a 4-iron to the 10th hole, telling Tiger Woods he would hit a high draw and hold it against the wind. After pulling off the shot, Woods excitedly said, “That’s why you’re double comeback-player-of-the year.”


STAT OF THE WEEK: Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh are the only players to have competed in every Presidents Cup. Each has won only one singles match.


FINAL WORD: “When Tiger plays well and the other guy doesn’t, it’s really hard to beat two guys, no matter who they are.” – Fred Couples on Tiger Woods’ team record in the Presidents Cup (10-9-1).