Yang Topples Tiger in the PGA

South Korean is first Asian-born player to win a major

By DOUG FERGUSON
|  Sunday, Aug 16, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Y.E. Yang of South Korea shakes hands with Tiger Woods after sinking his putt to win at the 91st PGA Championship.

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CHASKA, Minnesota  — In a year of spoilers at the majors, South Korea's Y.E. Yang was the most surprising of all.

He toppled Tiger Woods.

Yang became the first Asian-born player 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.

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 to close with a 2-under 70, giving him a three-shot victory when Woods missed yet another par putt and shot 75.

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

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.

On the biggest stage of all, he came through again.

Yang still had enough strength left to hoist his golf bag over his head, and later the Wanamaker Trophy.

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