Y.E. Yang is ranked 110th in the world. The 37 year old South Korean has never finished even in the top 25 in seven previous major championship appearances. Yet there he was, playing his final round at the 2009 PGA Championship up against the best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods.
Yang picked the right day to face the best. Woods, who entered 14 for 14 in majors when holding the 54-hole lead, could never find his putting stroke, allowing Yang to come from behind and pull out a 3-shot win.
99% of the time I pull for the underdog, and nothing against Tiger Woods, but I found myself absolutely enamored in this battle, pulling for Y.E. Yang, a player I’d never heard of before this event.
I was impressed with Yang’s composure. He’s playing in a major, in the final pairing with the world’s best player on the final day and yes, I’m sure he was a bit nervous, but it rarely showed. Yang stayed in the fairway most of the day, but he also shot for the flags. He didn’t shoot for the middle of the green like Tiger seemed to be doing. Yang had one goal in mind, win. If he didn’t, he wasn’t going to go down without a battle.
Yang didn’t even take up golf until he was 19 years old. Can you say Cinderella.
Tiger will be back and he’ll soon pass Jack Nicklaus in all-time major victories. But this 2009 PGA Championship belongs to Y.E. Yang, a truely remarkable accomplishment.