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Y.E. Yang Beats Tiger Woods at PGA

Aug 16, 2009 – 7:19 PM
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Shane Bacon

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Y.E. Yang
It finally happened. David took down Goliath. The little man won. Get out your sports cliche book and toss them all on the table. Tiger Woods went into a major championship final round with a two-shot lead, and lost to a man nobody outside of a small group of golf nerds had ever heard of.

Y.E. Yang, the little-known golfer who won the Honda Classic earlier this year, hit the shot of his life on the 18th hole -- after hitting the other shot of his life on the 14th hole -- to win his first major championship over a man that treats major leads like an obese man handles a salami sandwich.

He's the first Asian-born player to ever win a major, and he did it in a style that had even the most random sports fans rooting for a man they didn't even know existed on Thursday. The question people will be asking is, how did he do it?


You have to look past his final round 2-under 70, which tied the lowest round of the day. You're going to hear a lot about the chip-in eagle on 14 that had, remarkably enough, a Tiger-like fist-pump accompanying it. You could focus on his scary, but impressive, second shot on 16, which landed just inches from catching the side of the green and kicking into the hazard. You'd mostly want to focus on the 3-iron hybrid he hit on the 18th, similar to that of Shaun Micheel at this very tournament in 2003.

Standing in the fairway, needing only a par to win, Yang hit a towering shot that landed just two feet in front of the pin, checked liked a short-iron, and led to only his second birdie of the day.

While we can't rave about the play of Yang loud enough, the talk will obviously turn to Tiger and how he couldn't pull out this major championship.

Golf is the hardest game in the world, and with Tiger, we forget that. It isn't supposed to be mastered. It's supposed to make people cuss and throw clubs and pull out their hair and want to quit the moment they walk off the 18th green.

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Latest Golf Photos
CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods wipes his face on the 15th fairway during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods
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Latest Golf Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods watches his shot on the 15th fairway during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods walks across the bridge on the 16th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods wipes his face on the 15th fairway during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods looks on from the 15th fairway during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Y.E. Yang of South Korea celebrates on the 13th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Y.E. Yang

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Lee Westwood of England plays his third shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lee Westwood

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Lee Westwood of England plays his tee shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lee Westwood

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    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Steve Flesch plays a shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Steve Flesch

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    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Tiger Woods reacts to his putt on the 11th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tiger Woods

    Getty Images

    CHASKA, MN - AUGUST 16: Y.E. Yang of South Korea plays a bunker shot on the 13th hole during the final round of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club on August 16, 2009 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Y.E. Yang

    Getty Images

In 2008, Tiger Woods stood on a green, at a golf course, needing to make a putt to win a major championship on one knee. I knew he was going to make it. You knew he was going to make it. His competitor even knew it would go in.

My, how a year can change things. Sunday, standing on the 17th green, needing a par putt to place the extreme pressure on Yang -- a man never before put in a similar situation -- you had the feeling that this time, in this stage of the game, Tiger wouldn't make it. When it didn't drop, you knew that it wasn't meant to be. This was Tiger's tournament to win, but like the old saying goes, even the best fall down sometimes.

From now on, Yang will be the barometer. He will be the name that comes up whenever Tiger has a lead in a tournament or whenever a random golfer is in the hunt at a big event. He will be the David of this here game, known not for how he fell into a victory, but how he came, stones in hand, and took it from the greatest.

Tiger will always be Tiger, there is no doubt about that. Yang just made us all realize that even the man we have all thought was a machine, can in fact bleed.
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