Big upset at the PGA
see it, but it was an exciting last round at the PGA championship on Sunday. Up until Sunday, Tiger Wood during his career had 14 times been leading or sharing the lead going into the last round of a major championship, and 14 times he had won. That is a truly impressive achievement. Think of how often golfers falter once they get into the lead, and that Wood on 14 occasions, with all that pressure on him, had never once faltered. The record may not be on the level of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak
, the greatest single achievement in baseball, perhaps in all of sports, but it makes me think of it.
On Sunday, however, Wood’s string was broken, by a 37 year old South Korean golfer named Y.E. Yang. Here’s the story. The two contenders were neck and neck right up to the final hole.
BIG YANG THEORY: TIGER IS HUMAN
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 19, 2009 11:14 AM | Send
UNKNOWN PULLS OFF STUNNING PGA VICTORY
By GEORGE WILLIS
August 17, 2009
CHASKA, Minn.—It had to end, but nobody expected it would end at the 91st PGA Championship. Tiger Woods winning a major after owning the lead through 54 holes was as much a given as the sunrise.
But that ended yesterday at Hazeltine National where unheralded Y.E. Yang fought off the world’s best golfer to become the first Asian-born to win a major championship. Woods couldn’t seem to make a putt all day and his iron play lacked its usual final-round precession. But give Yang credit for playing the best golf of his 37-year-old life. A birdie putt on the 18th hole as Woods stood by helplessly provided the exclamation point on an 8-under par tournament and a three-shot victory in a match that was much closer than that.
Woods, who finishes the year without a major championship victory, trailed by a stroke heading to the 72nd hole. But Yang secured his lead by hitting a brilliant approach from 206 yards out with a 3-iron rescue club that landed 10 feet from the cup.
Woods couldn’t match him. His approach from 197 yards out landed in the greenside rough. After Woods’ chip rolled well past the cup, Yang buried a right-to-left birdie to finish his round of 2-under-par 70 and to start a celebration that will extend to his hometown of Seoul, South Korea.
“It’s always what I’ve dreamed about,” Yang said through an interpreter. “It was always what I sort of envisioned. Nobody’s going to be really disappointed that I lose. So I really had nothing much at stake, and that’s how I played.”
Woods had been 14-for-14 in majors after owning or sharing the lead through 54 holes. And though Yang had worked his way into the final pairing, few gave the 110th-ranked player in the world a chance to beat Woods, who took a two-stroke lead into the day.
Defending champion and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who began the day at 6-under, figured to be the best bet to chase down Woods. But the Irishman took an 8 on the par-3 eighth and was never heard from again.
That left a match-play duel between Woods and Yang. Woods missed plenty of putts that would have made things easier. He missed a 5-footer on the opening hole to set the tone for the day. He also missed good birdie looks at the 10th and the 13th and a putt for par at the 12th.
“I made absolutely nothing,” said Woods, who had 33 putts during his round of 3-over-par 75. “I just have to say it was a terrible day on the greens. And I had it at the wrong time.”
The momentum of the match changed on the par-4 14th, where Yang chipped in for eagle to take the lead. The hole was playing 301 yards, and Yang drove the ball to just in front of the green, while Woods hit his into a bunker. Woods blasted out to within 7 feet. But Yang struck the biggest blow of the match when his chip from 60 feet rolled into the cup for an eagle.
That jumped him to 8-under, leaving Woods without at least a share of the lead for the first time since the opening round. Woods drained the putt, his only clutch birdie of the round, to stay within one stroke, but Yang’s confidence was building.
“After I chipped in and made an eagle, that’s when I thought, ‘Ah, I do have a chance,’ ” Yang said.
After exchanging pars at the 16th, Yang three-putted the par-3 17th, where Woods also bogeyed after flying his tee-shot over the green and failing to get up and down.
“I couldn’t ask for a better golf swing,” Woods said, “it just hit right over the top of the flag.”
That sent the match to the 72nd hole, where Woods couldn’t provide any drama. The day and the Wanamaker Trophy belonged to Yang.
“He went out there and executed his game plan,” Woods said. “He was doing exactly what you have to do, especially in these conditions. I think he played beautifully.”