Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, August 17, 2009

Y.E. Yang tames Tiger Woods, greatest upset ever?

Tiger Woods got looked squared in the eyes by self-taught golfer S. Korean Y.E. Yang on Sunday and tamed Tiger. Yang snatched the PGA Championship away from arguably the greatest player of all time. It was essentially match play golf for the last 18 holes as no other players seriously threatened Woods or Yang. But at days end the 37 year-old hoisted the trophy in triumph while Woods abruptly left the course refusing to speak to course-side reporters.

We all know Woods resume. We know of his perceived invincibility, the legendary shots, his 70 tour victories and his 14 Major Championships, and mental toughness. But not of that seemed to matter to Yang yesterday. We know that Woods will probably go down as the greatest of all time, but yesterday Yang was just better.

Yang’s Victory has to be one of the greatest upsets in sports. Yang didn’t take up golf until he was 19 years old who never had a coach until recently. The 110th ranked unknown got his first tour of the year at this year’s Honda Classic-his second was winning the PGA Championship over Tiger Woods.

Woods simply didn’t make any putts. Fans, myself included, kept waiting for Woods to make a run but it never happened. Woods said, “I made absolutely nothing.” He continued “You have to make puts and I didn’t do that. Today is a day that didn’t happen.”

Yang did something to Woods on golf’s grandest stage know other player has been able to do. Woods didn’t lose the PGA Championship. Yang took it away from him.

Yang chipped in for eagle on No. 14 to take a two shot lead. Then on No. 18 he nearly holed-out when he drilled using a hybrid from just over 200 yards to make birdie. Yang, the first Asian born player to ever win a major ousted the first African American to ever win a major.

Yang triumph takes me back to 1964 when a loud-mouthed 21 year old told the world he was the greatest of all-time. Cassius Clay, later to be Muhammad Ali said he would beat the indestructible Sonny Liston. Clay, a man of his word, beat Liston into submission when Liston couldn’t answer the bell after round seven. His efforts made him the heavyweight champion of the world.

How about Lake Placid at the 1980 Olympics? Herb Brooks took his young hockey team and beat the mighty Russian team that was thought to be unbeatable. The Russian players were bigger, stronger, faster, and simply better. Probably so, but it was hockey team lead by Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig that took home the gold medal after beat Finland in the final.

This takes me back to 1985 when the Villanova Wildcats squared off against the mighty Georgetown Hoyas for the NCAA Championship. Few gave the undermanned Wildcats a chance to supplant John Thompson’s team lead by Patrick Ewing: but when the last second ticked off the clock the Wildcats where the champions.

Most sports fans can remember where they were in 1990 when “the baddest man on the planet” Mike Tyson took on unknown James “Buster” Douglas. It was a match Tyson was expected to win easily. Instead Douglas beat the pants off Tyson as he was counted out as he was fumbling about on his knees trying to secure his mouthpiece.

Where does Yang’s feat rank amongst sports greatest upsets? That’s up for debate like most things in life but there’s a lesson here nonetheless. No matter how great a person or a team there is always a change of being beat despite your perceived aura of invincibility.

We all know Tiger Woods will probably go down as the greatest golfer of all time: but for 18 holes of golf yesterday Y.E. Yang was the better player.

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