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?
 
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    What's in the bag: John Deere winner Michael Kim

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 1:11 pm

    Michael Kim won his first career PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic. Here's a look inside his bag:

    Driver: Titleist TS2 (10.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 60X shaft

    Fairway wood:  Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 70 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (21 degrees), Graphite Design Tour AD DI-85 X Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), 718 AP2 (5-PW), with True Temper XP 115 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 350 prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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    First-, second-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 12:20 pm

    Three-time champion Tiger Woods is playing in The Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews. Woods will begin his first round Thursday in the 147th edition at Carnoustie at 10:21 a.m. ET, playing alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox.

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth delivered the claret jug to the R&A on Monday at Carnoustie. He will begin his title defense at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday, playing with world No. 2 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    Other notable groupings:

    • Rory McIlroy will look to capture his second claret jug at 7:53 a.m. Thursday. He goes off with Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.
    • World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is playing with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. They will play at 8:04 a.m. ET in the first round.
    • World No. 2 Justin Thomas goes at 8:26 a.m. with Francesco Molinari and Branden Grace.
    • Masters champion Patrick Reed will play with Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey at 5:20 a.m. ET.
    • U.S. Open champion and world No. 4 Brooks Koepka is grouped with Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith (9:59 a.m. ET).
    • Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, will begin at 3:03 a.m. ET with Satoshi Kodaira and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

    Here's a look at the full list of times for Rounds 1 and 2 (all times ET):

    1:35AM/6:36AM: Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sulliva

    1:46AM/6:47AM: Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate

    1:57AM/6:58AM: Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List

    2:08AM/7:09AM: Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Nooris

    2:19AM/7:20AM: Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell

    2:30AM/7:31AM: Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook

    2:41AM/7:42AM: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry

    2:52AM/7:53AM: Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult

    3:03AM/8:04AM: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    3:14AM/8:15AM: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry

    3:25AM/8:26AM: Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard (a)

    3:36AM/8:37AM: Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara

    3:47AM/8:48AM: Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang

    4:03AM/9:04AM: Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley

    4:14AM/9:15AM: Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee

    4:25AM/9:26AM: David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na

    4:36AM/9:37AM: Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen

    4:47AM/9:48AM: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein

    4:58AM/9:59AM: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

    5:09AM/10:10AM: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood

    5:20AM/10:21AM: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed

    5:31AM/10:32AM: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas

    5:42AM/10:43AM: Yuxin Lin (a), Alexander Bjork, Sang Hyun Park

    5:53AM/10:54AM: James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard

    6:04AM/11:05AM: Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage

    6:15AM/11:16AM: Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner

    6:36AM/1:35AM: Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke (a), Cameron Davis

    6:47AM/1:46AM: Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III

    6:58AM/1:57AM: Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis

    7:09AM/2:08AM: Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An

    7:20AM/2:19AM: Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood

    7:31AM/2:30AM: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker

    7:42AM/2:41AM: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)

    7:53AM/2:52AM: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen

    8:04AM/3:03AM: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman

    8:15AM/3:14AM: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele

    8:26AM/3:25AM: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace

    8:37AM/3:36AM: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li

    8:48AM/3:47AM: Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo

    9:04AM/4:03AM: Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim

    9:15AM/4:14AM: Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp

    9:26AM/4:25AM: Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest

    9:37AM/4:36AM: Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak

    9:48AM/4:47AM: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace

    9:59AM/4:58AM: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka

    10:10AM/5:09AM: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma

    10:21AM/5:20AM: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox

    10:32AM/5:31AM: Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley

    10:43AM/5:42AM: Ryan Armour, Abraham Ander, Masahiro Kawamura

    10:54AM/5:53AM: Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith

    11:05AM/6:04AM: Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior

    11:16AM/6:15AM: Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon

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    Rahm's Carnoustie strategy: 'As many drivers as I can'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 10:57 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In his practice round Monday at Carnoustie, Jon Rahm bashed away with driver on the 18th tee, reducing one of the most intimidating finishing holes in championship golf into a driver-wedge.

    Indeed, when it comes to his choice of clubs off the tee this week at The Open, Rahm has one strategy in mind.

    “As many drivers as I can,” he said after playing 18 alongside Rory McIlroy. “I just feel comfortable with it.”

    Playing downwind, the firm and fast conditions on the 18th have led some players, even a medium-length hitter like Brandt Snedeker, to challenge the burn fronting the green.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Rahm explained Monday why that was the prudent play.

    “You can lay up with an iron farther back and have 140 or 150 meters to the front and have a 7-, 8- or 9-iron in,” Rahm said. “But if you hit a good one with a driver, you’re going to have nothing to the green.

    “If you hit the rough this year, it’s not as thick as other years. You actually get a lot of good lies, so you can still hit the green with confidence.”

    Rahm said that revelation was “quite surprising,” especially after encountering thicker fescue when he played the French Open and Irish Open, where he recorded a pair of top-5 finishes.

    “But with this much sun” – it hasn’t rained much, if at all, over the past six weeks – “the fescue grass can’t grow. It just dies,” he said. “It’s a lot thinner than other years, so unless they can magically grow it thicker the next few days, it’s pretty safe to assume we can be aggressive.”

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    Remembering Jean, because we'll always remember Jean

    By Al TaysJuly 16, 2018, 10:38 am

    The thing I remember about the 1999 Open Championship is that for 54 holes, it was boring. I can’t speak for the next 17, because I didn’t watch. I took advantage of a beautiful Sunday morning to play golf. When our group finished, we went into the clubhouse hoping to catch the last few holes or at least find out who won. Instead, we were greeted by an almost deafening buzz. It seemed everyone in the dining room was excitedly talking at once.

    The wall-mounted televisions provided the answer. There stood Jean Van de Velde, resplendent in a white visor and blue shirt, and whatever the opposite of “resplendent” is with his trouser legs rolled up above his knees. He was up to his ankles in the burn that winds in front of Carnoustie’s 18th green, hands on hips, holding a wedge. He was staring down into the water the way you’d stare at a storm grate through which you had just accidentally dropped your car keys. You know, the “What the heck am I going to do NOW?” stare.

    Van de Velde was the reason I had dismissed this 128th Open Championship as boring. Actually, he was one of two reasons. The first was that Tiger Woods was no factor. The second was that Van de Velde was running away with it, having taken a five-shot lead into the final round. It also didn’t help my interest level that I knew nothing about Van de Velde. I didn’t know Jean Van de Velde from Jean Valjean. The only thing I knew about him was that he was French, and the last great French golfer was … uh, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    As we got caught up on Van de Velde’s predicament – he had gone to the tee of the par-4 18th hole with a three-shot lead, but through a series of calamities now lay 3 … underwater – now my opinion of the guy did a 180. NOW I wanted him to win. It wasn’t going to be easy, though. Surely he would come to his senses and take a drop (4), then pitch onto the green (5) and hope to get that shot close enough that he could make the putt for 6 and claim the claret jug. A 7 – which would have plunged him into a playoff – was not a farfetched possibility.

    Not farfetched at all; that’s the score he made, only it didn’t unfold quite as simply as I had envisioned. After taking his drop, Van de Velde hit his next shot into a greenside bunker. He then blasted out to 8 feet and, needing to make the putt to get into a playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie, he did just that.

    You think Leonard’s 45-footer at Brookline that won the Ryder Cup later that year was clutch? I’ll take Van de Velde’s putt eight days a week.



    But there would be no happy ending for Van de Velde. In the four-hole, aggregate playoff, he opened with a double bogey and watched Lawrie win his only major.

    Van de Velde got roasted in the media for “choking” and “making stupid decisions.” I felt this was unfair. So the next day, in my capacity as a sports columnist for The Palm Beach Post, I wrote this:

    “I have a new hero. Jean Van de Velde, The Man Who Gave Away the British Open.” I wrote that Van de Velde had “remained true to himself” and that had he geared down and played the hole safely and won with a double bogey, he would have been quickly forgotten.

    As it turned out, because of his tragedy (self-inflicted though it was), he gained far more fame for losing than Lawrie did for winning (which is unfair to Lawrie, but that’s a tale for another time). I’ll also wager that Van de Velde gained far more fans for the grace with which he took his defeat than he would have had he won. See Norman, Greg, Augusta, 1996.

    Van de Velde may have made some questionable decisions – hitting driver off the tee, bringing water into play on his third shot when he had a horrible lie – but he had reasons for all of them. Nowhere do you see him saying “I am such an idiot” a la Phil Mickelson, or “What a stupid I am” a la Roberto De Vicenzo.

    “Sure, I could have hit four wedges,” he recently told Golf Channel. “Wouldn’t they have said, ‘He won The Open, but, hey, he hit four wedges.’ I mean, who hits four wedges?”

    There’s a great scene in the 1991 movie “The Commitments,” about putting a soul-music band together in the slums of Dublin. Against all odds, the band reaches the brink of success before sinking in a maelstrom of arguments and fistfights after its last gig.

    Manager Jimmy Rabbitte is trudging home through the gloom, when saxophonist Joey “The Lips” Fagan rides up on his ever-present scooter. Joey tries to get Jimmy to see the bright side.

    Look, I know you're hurting now, but in time you'll realize what you've achieved,” Joey says.

    “I've achieved nothing!” Jimmy snaps.

    “You're missing the point,” Joey replies. “The success of the band was irrelevant - you raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons. Sure we could have been famous and made albums and stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way it's poetry.’

    That’s what Jean Van de Velde created on that memorable Scottish day in July 1999.

    Poetry.