Friday, August 16, 2013

Y.E. Upsets Tiger

In one of the most stunning upsets in all of golf, Y.E. Yang -- the 110th ranked player in the world -- defeats Tiger Woods, ranked No. 1, to win the PGA Championship. The 37 year-old Yang was paired with Woods in the final round and began the day two strokes behind, but he made up ground thanks to several gutsy shots down the stretch. Woods struggled with the putter all day and finished with a three-over 75. The highlight of the final round came on the 14th hole, when Yang chipped in a 15-footer from the fringe that give him a one-stroke lead.

Going into the final hole, Woods was still trailing by a single stroke. Yang left nothing to chance and placed the ball squarely on the green, while Tiger's sailed into the rough. Woods missed his chip shot that could have tied it if Yang missed, but it didn't matter. Yang sunk his birdie shot anyway, giving him an unprecedented victory.

It was the first time that an Asian-born player won a major tournament. Yang had only started playing golf when he was 19 and had to wait to get out of the South Korean military to play it professionally. He had only just begun playing inside the United States and had won just a single event prior to the PGA Championship. Yang, whose initials stood for Yong-eun, received a congratulatory phone call from Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, who was watching it live in the wee hours of the morning.

But the bigger story was with the man Yang defeated. Tiger Woods, who had been leading the tournament since day one, rarely lost on the final day when he was in the mix and had never lost when he was leading a major after three rounds (14 for 14). He had won 47 of 50 tournaments when he had a share of the 54-hole lead, including his last 36. He was Tiger Woods, the undisputed best, clutchest, most dominant golfer in history. And although he was having -- by his standards -- a rough season in his first year back from knee surgery, he had only solidified his status as the best golfer in the world by winning back-to-back golf tournaments two weeks before.
"I made absolutely nothing," said Woods, who spent much of the final round cursing himself under his breath. "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."