Y.E. Yang with wife Young Ju Yang at the Champion’s Toast following the final round of play at the PGA Championship.
“When I make that, I think ‘maybe I do
have a chance,’ but I also know maybe Tiger
birdies the last three or four holes (as
Woods did in nearly catching 2002 PGA
Champion Rich Beem at Hazeltine),”
noted Yang. “You never know what
happens with Tiger, because he has been in
many situations like this.”
After Woods and Yang matched pars at
the 15th and 16th holes, Yang hit his 7-iron
tee ball onto the front of the green at the
189-yard 17th. After studying the wind,
Woods then air-mailed the green with his 7-
iron and made bogey from the thick rough.
But enjoying a golden opportunity to take a
two-shot cushion to the final hole, Yang
three-putted for bogey and walked to the
72nd hole with a precarious one-swing
While the thousands of spectators lining the 18th hole at Hazeltine National were poised for a fabulous finish, it was Yang who supplied the histrionics and Woods who uncharacteristically faltered. Yang had played the monstrous, 475-yard, par- 4 18th hole four times in practice rounds and hit a hybrid club within 15 feet of the flagstick every time.
Yang’s drive down the left side of the
MONTANA PRITCHARD/ THE PGA OF AMERICA
52 THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
fair way left him 210 yards to the flag during the final round. Similar to what he accomplished in his practice rounds, Yang carved a picture-perfect 3-hybrid around a tree and faded it to within eight feet of the back-left hole location. When Woods missed the green about 25 feet away and failed to hole his chip, all Yang had to do was two-putt for the victory and his first major championship. Instead, he buried the birdie and watched as Woods missed his par-saving putt, perhaps disbelieving that the world’s No. 1 player had just finished bogey-bogey on Sunday in a major championship to finish three shots behind.
“This is a great day for me and for my
country. It means the world right now,”
assured Yang, who received a
congratulatory telephone call from South
Korean President Lee Myung-bak
following his historic victory. “This might
be my last win as a golfer, but I will never
forget this day.”
Yang seemingly shot himself out of the
Championship with an opening 73,
followed by bogeys on four of the first five
holes in the second round. But he played
his final 13 holes in the second round in 6-
under par to post a 70, and then catapulted
into contention with six more birdies and a
single bogey en route to a 5-under 67 in the
third round. He entered the final day
within two strokes of Woods.
For Woods, his second-place finish in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National meant no major championships in 2009 and put his pursuit of the Golden Bear’s record 18 major championships on hold.
“I played well enough to win the
championship,” reflected Woods, “but I did
not putt well enough to win the
championship today. I didn't get it done on
the greens, and consequently, I didn’t win
the tournament. Give Y. E. credit. He
executed his game plan, drove it beautifully,
and hit his irons in the correct spots. He
Beautifully, indeed. A historic
masterpiece at Hazeltine National by the
first Asian-born male to win a major
championship, and another riveting
chapter in golf’s David vs. Goliath
Roger Graves is PGA Magazine’s senior writer and a longtime PGA
Championship Program contributor.