With a final round 70, Y.E. Yang overcame a two shot deficit to not only become the 91st PGA Champion, but the first person to beat Tiger Woods when he held the 54-hole lead at a major championship.
He certainly deserved it. The shot of the tournament, the one that will be talked about for years to come, came from Yang just off the fairway on the 18th.
With a one shot lead and his playing partner, Woods sitting pretty in the fairway with a much better angle, Yang set up for his 206-yard shot with a hybrid 3-iron.
All he had to do was lift it up over a tree 50 yards in front of him to a pin location nestled just over a bunker and in tight amongst rough in behind and to the left.
Oh and lets just add one tiny tidbit: it was a pin location that had yielded just two birdies all day.
What did he do? How about landed it within a foot of the cup only to roll to about 10 feet for birdie which he made.
Commence the celebration.
Yang played remarkably solid all day to hang around and hang around. While every other contender fell by the wayside including Padraig Harrington who entered the final round at 6-under — tied for second with Yang — the South Korean held steady.
Then came an eagle chip on the driveable par-4 14th from just off the green that gave him his first outright lead all tournament. The shot immediately put Woods firmly on his heels despite being just one shot behind after making a birdie of his own on the same hole.
Since TNT went on air with Thursday coverage, Woods had at least a share of the lead the entire tournament. However, midway thru the back nine on Sunday he found himself in a very unfamiliar spot — trailing.
Woods who ended with a 75 (more like a 74 since he really didn’t try on his second to final putt on 18), struggled with the reads all day on the greens. A player who rarely misses putts within 10 feet, burned the edges of the cup all day on putts that length.
But for all of Woods’ struggles, make no mistake about it, Yang won it. To shoot a 2-under 70 in just his seventh major championship on a Sunday in the final group with Tiger… you absolutely have to give Yang every ounce of credit that he deserves for this win.
The other headline emerging from this performance is what this does for golf in Asia. Yang becomes the first ever major champion born from the continent and effectively settles in as its hero. There is no doubt that Sunday, August 16th 2009 is the watershed moment for golf history in Asia.