Tiger Woods' Major Championship Streak Ends
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Until yesterday, there were three certainties in life for those who follow golf: death, taxes and Tiger Woods winning a major championship when he held the lead going into the final round. Fourteen times in his career Woods led majors after three rounds and 14 times he won the championship. Not yesterday. Commentator John Feinstein joins us now to tell us what did happen.
John, good morning.
JOHN FEINSTEIN: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: How did Y.E. Yang come from behind to win this?
FEINSTEIN: Well, to begin with he played remarkable golf. He chipped in for an eagle at the 14th hole when Tiger was looking at a short birdie putt. He actually one-upped Tiger on that hole, which never happens to Tiger Woods, especially, as you said, on the last day of a major. He hit an extraordinary shot on the 18th hole over a tree to within eight feet when he had a one shot lead. And that pretty much ended the tournament for Tiger.
But also, Tiger Woods had a human day as a putter. He just didn't make the putts we always expect him to make when a major championship is on the line. When you 14 for 14 in majors with the lead on Sunday that means you're making clutch putts all over the place. How many times have we seen him shake that fist when he makes a crucial putt? Yesterday, we never saw that Tiger fist shake.
INSKEEP: And he was playing against - I mean, I don't want to disparage Y.E. Yang at all. He just won a major championship. But he was not one of the greats - considered to be one of the greats who was out there.
FEINSTEIN: No, not even close, Steve. This is a guy who didn't take up golf until he was 19 years old and was playing successfully on the Korean tour and decided last year I want to take a shot at playing against the best players.
And he went to qualifying school in the United States just to get on this tour. He got through it. He won a tournament in Florida, Honda Classic in March, to establish himself as a solid player. But he was ranked 110th in the world and had never finished higher than 30th in a major championship until he did what he did yesterday.
INSKEEP: And I want to swing back to that scenario you mentioned, too. Its late in the tournament. Hes playing against Tiger Woods. Hes got a one-shot lead. Hes got a tree between him and the green and he puts it on the green within eight feet of the cup. Thats pretty impressive.
FEINSTEIN: Yeah, it will be a shot that will be replayed and replayed and replayed like some of the great shots in the history of golf. I remember Shaun Micheel hitting it to within two feet when he won the PGA six years ago with a one-shot lead. Thats what came into my mind right then. But Shaun Micheel wasnt going up against Tiger Woods. It was really a courageous shot to hit it, as you said, over that tree. And this will go down as the greatest upset in golf, I think, since a club pro named Jack Fleck beat Ben Hogan in a playoff for the U.S. Open in 1955.
INSKEEP: Wow. And it wraps up an interesting year for golfs four major championships.
FEINSTEIN: It certainly does, because in each case we had a famous player on the verge of winning. Kenny Perry couldve won his first major at the Masters, lost in a playoff to Angel Cabrera. Phil Mickelson couldve won with his wife facing cancer surgery at the U.S. Open, Lucas Glover won. Tom Watson, of course, couldve been the oldest man in history, by far, to win a major at the British. Stewart Cink won, and now Y.E. Yang beats Tiger Woods.
INSKEEP: I was about to say, it was a year of almost wins, but
FEINSTEIN: It was.
INSKEEP: Y.E. Yangs upset, I think, maybe thats the ending you want. I mean, thats pretty
FEINSTEIN: Well, to me theres a little bit of miracle in it, from Lake Placid. Because if - Y.E. Yang said yesterday, I don't want a rematch. It was a line straight out of Rocky.
(Soundbite of laughter)
He said, I beat him. I won the PGA. I do not want a rematch. And I can understand why hed feel that way.
(Soundbite of laughter)
INSKEEP: Going home. John, thanks for
FEINSTEIN: With a trophy.
INSKEEP: John, thanks very much.
FEINSTEIN: Thanks, Steve.
INSKEEP: Comments from John Feinstein. His new book is Change Up: Mystery at the World Series.
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