The God's Given Lionel Messi - messilegend

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiger Sla-YIN by YANG

South Korean YE Yang won his first career major with a superb performance to beat Tiger Woods fair and square. Even though Tiger lost, its not all bad news. Yang totally deserved the victory which will be remembered by many Asians especially the Koreans. Clearly, Tiger's lacklustre putting throughout the final round denied him from winning his 15th major. An eagle on the short par 4, 14th hole seems to be the "signal/indication" of victory for Yang, although Tiger managed to birdie the hole and stayed one stroke behind. If only Tiger managed to birdie the first and second hole, both with good opportunity at less than 10 foots, the game would certainly be different. Credits to be honoured to Yang for ending a remarkable final round with 2-under and an overall score of 8-under par to win the PGA Championship by three strokes. Chuka Haeyo!!!


Yang stuns Tiger at PGA Championship

CHASKA, Minn. - South Korea's Y.E. Yang toppled Tiger Woods and became the first Asian-born man to win a major with a stunning performance Sunday in the PGA Championship, memorable as much for his clutch shots as the player he beat.

In a year of spoilers at the majors, Yang's was the most surprising of all.

Woods was 14-0 when he went into the final round of a major atop the leaderboard. He had not lost any tournament around the world in nine years when leading by two shots.

None of that mattered to Yang, a 37-year-old Korean who hit the shots everyone expected from Woods. Leading by one on the final hole, Yang slayed golf's giant with a hybrid 3-iron that cleared the bunker and settled 12 feet from the cup.

Yang made the birdie putt and shouted with joy as he pumped his fist. That gave him a 2-under 70, and a three-shot victory when Woods missed yet another short par putt and shot 75.

"I tried to master the art of controlling my emotions throughout the small wins I had in my career," Yang said through his agent, Michael Yim. "I think it turned out quite well today."

Yang finished at 8-under 280 and won $1.35 million, along with a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and the majors. That was important for a guy who had to go back to PGA Tour qualifying last December. The last player to go from Q-school to PGA champion was John Daly in 1991.

One more bonus: His victory put him on the International team for the Presidents Cup in October in San Francisco.

His victory is massive for Asia, the fastest-growing market in golf. Perhaps even more significant is the way he stood up to Woods, the world's No. 1 player whose heritage is half-Asian through his Thai-born mother.

His victory came four days after golf was recommended to become part of the Olympics in 2016.

For Woods, it was the second time he has finished runner-up in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine, both times to a surprise winner. Seven years ago, he birdied the last four holes and came up one short of Rich Beem.

This time, Woods made one mistake after another over the last four holes, mostly with his putter.

"I did everything I needed to do, except for getting the ball in the hole," Woods said. "Just didn't make the putts when I needed to make them."

Yang was No. 110 in the world, his only victory on the PGA Tour coming in March at the Honda Classic, on a course across the street from headquarters of the PGA of America. He was best known for holding off Woods at the HSBC Champions in China three years ago.

This stage was far bigger. Yang was even better.

He took the lead for the first time all week by chipping in for eagle from about 20 yards short of the 14th green. And when it looked as though nerves were getting the best of him on a three-putt bogey at the 17th, he delivered his two most important shots.

Yang still had enough strength left to hoist his golf bag over his head, and later the 44-pound Wanamaker Trophy. After a long and tearful embrace with his wife, Young Ju Park, he walked across a bridge saluting thousands of fans who couldn't believe what they saw.

What a finale to this year in the majors.

Kenny Perry was poised to become the oldest Masters champion at 48 until Angel Cabrera beat him in a playoff. Phil Mickelson, reeling from his wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, was on the verge of finally winning the U.S. Open until Lucas Glover outplayed him over the final few holes. And just last month, 59-year-old Tom Watson was an 8-foot par putt away from winning the British Open, then lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.

Woods losing a two-shot lead in the final round of a major? That was unthinkable - until a breezy afternoon at Hazeltine.

"I played well enough the entire week to win the championship," Woods said. "You have to make putts. I didn't do that. Today was a day that didn't happen."

Before Yang, Asian-born players had come close in the majors - Lu Liang-huan of Taiwan finishing one shot behind Lee Trevino at the 1971 British Open, and T.C. Chen's famous two-chip gaffe that cost him a chance at the 1985 U.S. Open, where he was runner-up to Andy North.

This could be a big breakthrough for Asian players, especially with a World Golf Championship starting this year in China.

As for the PGA Championship, what remains is whether it will be remembered more for Yang's victory or Woods losing a 54-hole lead for the first time in a major.



S. Korea celebrates 'Average Joe's' major win

SEOUL: Fans in golf-crazy South Korea set their alarms for 4am Monday to watch the PGA Championship on television, then celebrated with whoops as Y.E. Yang finished off his historic victory over Tiger Woods.

Yang became the first Asian-born man to win a major tournament, capping a stunning rise for an “average Joe” who didn’t pick up a golf club until he was 19 and went into the tournament ranked 110th in the world.

Kim Soo-mi woke up before dawn to watch the final round on TV, and then scurried over to her local sports club when it opened at 6am to watch the final minutes along with jubilant fellow golfers.

“Seeing Yang ranked 110th in the world win against Tiger Woods, the best player in the world, I felt so proud to be a Korean today,” Kim said at the club in the Seoul suburb of Bundang.

Even South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, was up before sunrise to watch the tournament live. He later phoned Yang to offer his congratulations.

“I woke up at dawn today to watch the broadcast, and you played in a calm manner,” Lee told Yang, according to Lee’s office. “First of all, you enhanced our people’s morale by winning the major title for the first time as an Asian.”

Lee also praised Yang for persevering despite personal difficulties, calling his win a “come-from-behind victory” that was all the more valuable because of his life story, Lee’s office said.

Back home in Jeju, Yang’s family stayed up all night, their eyes glued to the TV. “I am so happy and proud of him. What else can I feel?” his brother, Yang Yong-hyuk, said by telephone. “Since he has finally reached the peak, I hope that he will work even harder to become better and defend his position.”

Yang, whose Korean name is Yang Yong-eun, calls himself an “average Joe,” the son of a farmer on the tropical southern island of Jeju - a traditional honeymoon spot for Koreans that in recent years has become a popular golfing destination.

Yang says he aspired to be a bodybuilder and once dreamed of owning his own gym. But a knee injury in his teens forced him to reconsider his athletic career. At 19, he took a job collecting golf balls at a local driving range.

After work, the self-taught Yang stayed on after hours to practice, said Kim Young-chan, executive director of the driving range at the Ora Country Club. He recalled Yang as a late bloomer but a hard worker.

“After the guests left the driving range, he practised late into the night,” Kim said in a telephone interview, calling his diligence a “testament to how hard he worked” to learn the game.

Yang was awarded the Rookie of the Year award after making his Korea Professional Golfers’ Association debut in 1997. It took him nearly six years to win his first title in South Korea. Then, in 2006, he took on Tiger Woods at the HSBC Championship in Shanghai, China - and won.

Suh Gee-young, a doctor who woke up early to watch the tournament and take a few practice swings before work, called Yang an inspiration to other Asian-born players seeking to make it big in the majors. Golf is huge in South Korea, which in recent years has produced a number of top female players. But the top ranks had until now evaded Asia’s men.

“I think Yang’s victory will give young Asian players a confidence that they can beat the odds in any situation,” Suh said.

Golf instructor Kim Won-jun, 43, praised Yang as a calm, collected player.

“I personally know Yang and what distinguishes him from other players is his emotional stability,” Kim said. “He is in total control during his game so when he has the chance, he’s able to immediately seize it.”

Around Kim, dozens of early risers were taking swings at the Kolon Sporex club’s indoor driving range as others gathered around a nearby large-screen TV to watch replays of Yang’s win in Chaska, Minn.

Lee Jong-hoon, 33, said chatter about Yang’s victory filled the halls of the Seoul hospital where he is a physician.

“I’m a fan of Yang because he overcame many obstacles to become a golfer,” Lee said. “I think what makes his victory especially meaningful is not only the fact that he’s Asian but also the fact that he was a true underdog.” - AP

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