Yang makes major breakthrough for Asia

Yang Yong-eun became the first Asian to win a major title when to stared down Tiger Woods to win the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

The 37-year-old South Korean, who was 19 when he picked up golf clubs for the first time, survived a pressure-filled final round to deny Woods a 15th major crown.

It was the first time in eight attempts that Woods had failed to win a major after leading at the half-time stage.

A delightful eagle chip on the 14th hole proved the turning point for Yang, who, at that point, snatched the lead from the world number one.

Though Woods was still in it the hunt just one stroke off the pace with two holes remaining, it was Yang who held his nerve. Woods eventually fell away at the end, as Yang emerged victorious by three strokes.

Yang, a graduate of the Japan Professional Tour, had previous experience dealing with Woods. He defeated the American en route to winning the 2006 HSBC Champions tournament in China after qualifying for the event by winning the Korean Open on the Asian Tour.

Earlier this year, he showed that he has the mettle to compete on the world’s toughest golf tour when he won the Honda Classic.

Those victories helped him on the major stage, as he said, through an interpreter, soon after his victory. He said:

“I tried to master the art of controlling my emotions throughout the small wins I had in my career. I think it turned out quite well today.”

While Yang celebrated on behalf of all Asians, Woods contemplated a rare season without a major title – his first bare cupboard for five years.

But it has still been a magnificent year for Woods. He returned to action after an eight-month injury lay-off and many thought he would struggle to win.

However, he won five tournaments this season, including two straight prior to the US PGA Championship and will fight back with a vengeance next season. Woods blamed poor putting for his defeat.

“I did everything I needed to do, except for getting the ball in the hole. Just didn’t make the putts when I needed to make them. I played well enough the entire week to win the championship. You have to make putts. I didn’t do that. Today was a day that didn’t happen.”

Yang finished on two-under-par 70 on Sunday for a total of eight-under 280. Woods was alone on second on 283 after his 75.

England’s Lee Westwood and Northern Irish youngster Rory McIlroy (both 70) were tied on third at 285.

In sixth, on 286, was US Open champion Lucas Glover, while four players shared sixth on 287 – Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els, Soren Kjeldsen and Henrik Stenson.

Last year’s winner, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington had fallen out of contention early in the round and finished on 288.

Only two Asian-born players had previously come close to winning a major tournament. In 1971, Taiwan’s Huan Lu-liang, famously known as Mr Lu, finished second at the British Open while Isao Aoki, of Japan, was runner-up at the 1980 US Open.

With his performance at Chaska, Minnesota, Yang has now become the new standard-bearer for Asian golf.

5 Responses to “Yang makes major breakthrough for Asia”

  1. Subhankar says:

    Well said, Jose – Nicklaus had to win against some serious competition. Palmer, Player, Trevino, Watson – all multiple Major winners (yes, multiple, not just 2 or 3 like Els, Vijay Singh, Mickelson, Harrington). He also had 20 odd second place finishes in Majors. Tiger is far away on the latter count.

  2. José Rolz says:

    Hi Andy:
    Finally, someone did not wilt in he presence of a tournament leading Woods. But, alas, the warrior is not from Europe or the Américas.

    I have the feeling that Mr. Yang’s victory will spurr many Asian players to excel in the golfing world ( ie. the PGA and the Europran tours ) just as Se ri Pak´s victory in the Ladies U.S. Open did in the ’90’s. Just look at how many Asian players today are dominating the LPGA, especially the ladies from Korea.

    Hopefully, Mr. Yang’s victory over Mr. Woods will spur other fine players around the world to make Mr. Wood’s quest to surpass Jack’s 18 majors a more difficult task than it has been to date.

    There I’ve said it…….Jack had more fierce competition in his time acumulating those 18 majors than Tiger has had up to date. That is a fact.

    Lucky for Tiger. And this, by no means detracts from Tiger being the best player on the planet today.

    Keep up the good work; I really enjoy the passion you have for our great game and its traditions.

    Best regards,

    José Rolz
    Guatemala City, Guatemala

  3. Carl Sanders says:

    😎 Mr Yang made the big shots in the end. He was very steady Saturday and Sunday. Congrats you earned it.

  4. Brian says:

    I fail to see how Tiger can blame his putting for failing to win.

    He holed out more successfuly than most. He is certainly the best putter in the world. He also played well, but the course conditions and difficulty proved,for once, too testing,and it was someone else’s turn.

    Good for the game,Brian (U.K).

  5. ron says:


    Keep all your good stuff coming, we really enjoy everything you send..

    Thanks for all of your good work.


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