I have to offer my apologies, as well as my congratulations to Y.E. Yang. I just didn’t believe he could do it. Tiger has never given up a lead in a major, and even on the seventy second hole, I thought he would chip in from the fringe, force Yang into a playoff and win it in overtime.
But he didn’t. Instead, Yang rode the eagle on fourteen to victory. This time, it was Tiger who was finishing from behind, and Tiger who made the mistakes.
Incredible. For the first time since 2004, and for only the third time in his professional career, Tiger has finished the year without a Major.
Yang played with incredible nerve. He ignored the pressure, the crowds and Tiger’s gamesmanship (the announcers pointed out that he likes to stand where his opponent will see him as they make their putt). He made the gutsy plays—how about that hybrid on the seventy second—that you expect from a Champion.
Will we see more of Yang? I don’t know. I kind of doubt it. This has been a year of upsets, and a win in a major doesn’t always foretell future success (see: Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, et.al.). But for the time being, he’s a real champion—and one who has done what no one else has done: caught Tiger from behind in a Major.
I’m interested in your reactions to the PGA Championship. Leave a comment.