Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

GOLF

Y.E. Yang stuns Tiger Woods at PGA Championship

Yang becomes first male from Asia to win a major, outdueling Woods, who had been a perfect 14 for 14 in majors when leading after three rounds.

August 17, 2009|Teddy Greenstein

CHASKA, MINN. — Entering the final round at Hazeltine National, Tiger Woods held a two-shot lead over Y.E. Yang:

When the final book on Tiger Woods is written, these two names will need to be highlighted: Ed Fiori, Y.E. Yang.

Not Sergio Garcia. Not Phil Mickelson. Not Ernie Els. At least not yet.

Fiori came from behind to beat Woods on the final day at the 1996 Quad City Classic, and Yang did the unthinkable Sunday, overtaking Woods in the final round of a major, the PGA Championship.

Wearing all white, the ghost-like figure shot a two-under-par 70 to become the first player from Asia to win a men's major and the first to beat Woods after he had a 54-hole lead in a major. Woods had been 14 for 14 as a closer in majors.

Consider this: Yang started the day as a 20-1 underdog, according to an online sports wagering site. Woods was a 2-9 favorite, roughly the same as Secretariat in his prime against your pet cocker spaniel.

"You never know in life," Yang said through his interpreter, Ryan Park.

No, you don't. Woods led or was tied atop the leaderboard until the 14th hole, a drivable par four of 301 yards. Yang knocked in his eagle chip from some 80 feet to take the lead.

He never relinquished it. Woods put himself in position to make birdies at Hazeltine National but couldn't buy one on the greens.

He spent much of the round muttering to himself in frustration. He had only three one-putts.

"I made absolutely nothing," he said. "I had a terrible day on the greens. . . . I hit the ball great off the tee, hit my irons well. I did everything I needed to do except get the ball in the hole."

In shooting a three-over 75, Woods made just two birdies. He didn't really crack a smile until he graciously congratulated Yang on the 18th green.

"Y.E. hit it great all day," Woods said. "It was a fun battle."

The tournament was still in doubt until Yang's three-hybrid approach on 18.

With 210 yards to the pin from the first cut of rough, he fired at the flag, and his ball settled eight feet from the cup.

Woods, trailing by one, could have chipped in for a birdie that would have forced Yang to make his putt.

Yang, the 37-year-old native of South Korea, doesn't speak much English. But despite a limited vocabulary, his politeness comes across.

Asked in English to describe his emotions at that moment, he replied: "I think: 'Tiger, miss the chip-in, please.' "

Maybe even pretty please.

Woods did miss, and Yang knocked home the birdie for an eventual three-shot victory.

"He's a world-class player and he had nothing to lose," said his caddie, A.J. Montecinos. "He said: 'I'm not nervous.' "

Montecinos, 35, who played for Jackson State and first caddied for Yang at Q-school in 2007, said his boss is a delight.

"He's very low-key and easy to get to know," Montecinos said. "When the general public gets to know him, they will fall in love with him. He's got a heart as big as this place."

Yang didn't take up the game in earnest until he was 19. Since 2002, he has won in Korea, Japan and China, and claimed his first PGA Tour title in March at the Honda Classic in Florida.

And now, the man who entered the PGA Championship ranked 110th in the world is a major winner.

"It just means the world right now," Yang said through his interpreter. "It hasn't really sunk in, but I do know the significance of it."

--

tgreenstein@tribune.com

--

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

PGAwinners

2009: Y.E. Yang

2008: P. Harrington

2007: Tiger Woods

2006: Tiger Woods

2005: Phil Mickelson

2004: Vijay Singh

2003: Shaun Micheel

2002: Rich Beem

2001: David Toms

2000: Tiger Woods

1999: Tiger Woods

1998: Vijay Singh

1997: Davis Love III

1996: Mark Brooks

1995: Steve Elkington

1994: Nick Price

1993: Paul Azinger

1992: Nick Price

1991: John Daly

1990: Wayne Grady

1989: Payne Stewart

1988: Jeff Sluman

1987: Larry Nelson

1986: Bob Tway

1985: Hubert Green

1984: Lee Trevino

1983: Hal Sutton

1982: Raymond Floyd

1981: Larry Nelson

1980: Jack Nicklaus

1979: David Graham

1978: John Mahaffey

1977: Lanny Wadkins

1976: Dave Stockton

1975: Jack Nicklaus

1974: Lee Trevino

1973: Jack Nicklaus

1972: Gary Player

1971: Jack Nicklaus

1970: Dave Stockton

1969: Raymond Floyd

1968: Julius Boros

1967: Don January

1966: Al Geiberger

1965: Dave Marr

1964: Bobby Nichols

1963 : Jack Nicklaus

1962: Gary Player

1961: Jerry Barber

1960: Jay Hebert

1959: Bob Rosburg

1958: Dow Finsterwald

1957: Lionel Hebert

1956: Jack Burke Jr.

1955: Doug Ford

1954: Chick Harbert

1953: Walter Burkemo

1952: Jim Turnesa

1951: Sam Snead

1950: C. Harper

1949: Sam Snead

1948: Ben Hogan

1947: Jim Ferrier

1946: Ben Hogan

1945: Byron Nelson

1944: Bob Hamilton

1943: None (WWII)

1942: Sam Snead

1941: Vic Ghezzi

1940: Byron Nelson

1939: Henry Picard

1938: Paul Runyan

1937: Denny Shute

1936: Denny Shute

1935: Johnny Revolta

1934: Paul Runyan

1933: Gene Sarazen

1932: Olin Dutra

1931: Tom Creavy

1930: Tommy Armour

1929: Leo Diegel

1928: Leo Diegel

1927: Walter Hagen

1926: Walter Hagen

1925: Walter Hagen

1924: Walter Hagen

1923: Gene Sarazen

1922: Gene Sarazen

1921: Walter Hagen

1920: Jock Hutchison

1919: J.M. Barnes

1917-18: None (WWI)

1916: J.M. Barnes

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|