Live PGA Championship Coverage: Final Round
Michael Walker Jr., Golf Magazine senior editor, live blogged the final round of the PGA Championship.
In a week when golf moved close to becoming an Olympic sport, the game's final major pitted an American icon, an Irish champion and a Korean journeyman against each other in a gritty contest marked more by workmanlike pars than glittering birdies and eagles. When it was all over, Korea's Y.E. Yang was left standing over the more celebrated Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington following one of the all-time clutch shots in golf history: Yang's 206-yard approach shot to 10 feet to beat Woods, who had never lost a major when he had the lead going into Sunday.
7:20 p.m. OK, closing down the Live Blog for 2009 majors. No offense to our deserving champions, but this year will be remembered for what could have been instead of what was: Tiger vs. Phil at Augusta, Phil and Duval at Bethpage, Watson at Turnberry and now Woods gunning for his 15th major a year after major reconstructive knee surgery. So it goes. We like sports because there's no script.
Thanks to Golf Mag Top 100 Teachers Brady Riggs, Jon Tattersall, Brian Mogg and Eddie Merrins; Friends of the Blog Mike Corcoran and Dick Friednam, Fellow Live Bloggers Connell Barrett, Gary Van Sickle, Cameron Morfit and Alan Bastable, and tireless Golf.com editors Charlie Hanger, Ryan Reiterman and Anne Szeker. Extra special thanks to you all for reading.
See you at Augusta.
7:10 p.m. This victory ranks Y.E. Yang as second-best Y-initialed athlete after Giants QB Y.A. Tittle.
7:05 p.m. Woods smartly decided to skip his post-round comments with CBS Sports because I'm sure it would have cost him about $50,000 in language fines.
7:03 p.m. CBS Sports' Jim Nantz goes with "Y-E-Yes!" as his call. Not bad but would have sounded better coming from Marv Albert.
7:02 p.m. Birdie putt is good. The unlikeliest of giant-killers Y.E. Yang is your new PGA Champion! It's going to be a long flight back to Orlando for Woods.
7:01 p.m. Woods keeps the flagstick in and his chip runs well past the hole. This thing is over.
6:59 p.m. Big cheers for the leaders coming up to 18. Legendary CBS Sports producer Frank Chirkinian once noted that golf is the only sport where we root for the favorite and against the underdog.
6:58 p.m. Woods in the rough off the green. Anyone else would need the impossible from there, Tiger just needs the improbable.
6:56 p.m. Holy Hybrid, Batman! From 206 yards, Yang hits it to about 10-15 feet.
6:55 p.m. Defending champion Padraig Harrington finishes at even par after a 78 today. He's not going to sleep well tonight.
6:52 p.m. Yang in the first cut. Woods in the fairway on the right side with another bomb. However, the irons not the driver are costing Woods today, which is unusual.
6:51 p.m. Reader William writes: Woods "just a little off today"? This is going to cost dearly I think.
I agree, William. After the surgery and the rehab and the tough run of majors, he wants this about as much as he's wanted any tournament. It will hurt.
6:48 p.m. Oh man. Yang just misses his par putt too, lips out. Two bogeys. Yang still leads by one. Going to the 18th hole. Remember that Tiger Woods always finds a way to win in the most dramatic way possible.
6:47 p.m. Woods misses another well-struck putt. Just a little off today.
6:46 p.m. Yang leaves his putt way short, about six feet left. He smiles. Don't smile, Yang. Whatever you do, don't smile.
6:43 p.m. Woods hits a poor chip out of the rough and will have about 10 feet for his par save. I wouldn't count him out yet.
6:40 p.m. Oh, no! Woods crushes it over the green and into the spinach. He liked that one too.
6:38 p.m. Yang hits a 7-iron straight, maybe a little short. He'll have a long birdie putt.
6:35 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman, longtime Friend of the Blog, appreciates the fans at Hazeltine: It’s clear even through the TV that the fans in Minnesota are really savoring these last few holes. Of course, the minute the final putt drops, so does the first puck of the hockey season.
6:31 p.m. Yang misses right. Good-good. Yang has one-stroke lead going to the par-3 17th.
6:29 p.m. Tiger stalks his 30-footer on the 16th green. Lag putt, likely par. Yang will have 15-footer for two-shot lead.
6:27 p.m. Woods makes the conservative play, he finds the green but has a long putt in. Yang fires right at the pin, barely missing the water and nestles it close.
6:24 p.m. Phil Mickelson was hoping for this. "I hope that it comes down to the last few holes, because the last few majors have been exciting," Phil said on his way out of Dodge following a 12-over tournament.
6:21 p.m. Yang safely in the fairway on 16; Woods is fine as well. Somewhere, Bob May is cracking a beer and settling into an E-Z chair.
6:18 p.m. Woods must be wondering who put the Sarah Wrap on all the holes, another well-struck putt that runs right along the edge of the hole. Par for Woods, still one back.
6:16 p.m. Tense putt from Yang, lags it close and makes par. Then throws the ball into the crowd. The CBS guys note that Woods is now standing closer to Yang when Yang putts, a little intimidation move.
6:15 p.m. Yang's wedge much worse, lot of work left for birdie.
6:14 p.m. Woods sticks his wedge tight, like any-other-day-but-today-it's-an-automatic birdie tight.
6:11 p.m. Fellow Live Blogger Connell Barrett is already shuttering at the possible name puns Jim Nantz might make from Y.E. Yang.
Why we should all pull for Tiger:
Jim Nantz plays it
straight when Woods wins, but he loves hamming it up and making punny
pronouncements when others close out a major, such as Singh (Nantz: "Vijay
means victory"), Beem in '02 ("Rich ... and famous!"), and DL3
in '97 ("That's what Love is all about!") And let's not forget
Bob May's playoff-forcing putt at Valhalla
Let's hope we don't have to hear:
Y.E. Yang: [Winning putt is rolling...] "Everybody have fun tonight..." [Putt drops] "Everybody YANG Chung tonight!"
6:07 p.m. Yang's second shot is well short and he'll have a wedge it. From a downslope Tiger hits a fairway wood fat. He's OK, but farther away from Yang. When Woods gets an opening today, he can't take advantage of it.
6:04 p.m. How focused does Woods get in a major? Yesterday he walked by Camilo Villegas like he didn't know him, leaving Camilo with an empty outstretched arm. Don't worry, Camilo, he's done the same thing to his own mother.
6:02 p.m. Yang hits a nice drive on 15; Woods follows with a vintage Tiger bomb. This is about to get really good.
5:58 p.m. Reader Wave06 checks in from Munich: I would say, Yang is more like Michael Spinks vs ALI "I don't have anything to lose"
Hmmmm. Starting to feel a little like Tyson-Douglas. You see the result and say, "Nah, that can't be right."
5:56 p.m. Woods now has a must-make 8-footer, which he makes (of course). Still one back of Yang.
5:55 p.m. Woods hits his sand shot to about 8 feet. Yang chips in for eagle! 8-under!
5:53 p.m. "Who are Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang?" would be too hard for Final Jeopardy.
5:49 p.m. Reader David in Connecticut says: "They're three shots ahead of everybody else." Yes, and if one of the "everybody else" has a great run while the leaders choke and we end up with a playoff, won't you feel silly for ignoring them all day? Not that I think that'll happen. But even Harrington's run to get back to third might interest someone.
Harrington is showing true grit out there but he's still 1-under. Nobody is really distinguishing themselves out there today, including the Man in Red, who lands in a bunker on the drivable par-4 14th
5:47 p.m. Yang actually saves par, with a little fist pump thrown in. Stays even with Tiger, who won't see too many better opportunities than that.
5:46 p.m. Looked like Tiger said he was "fed up" with missing that birdie putt.
5:44 p.m. Yang gets out but has a bit left. Could be two-shot swing for Woods.
5:41 p.m. Yang hits in the bunker on the par-3 13th, Woods has about 8 feet for birdie.
5:38 p.m. Reader Ben asks: So Mike what you're saying is that Tiger today = Ali's "Rope a Dope" in boxing?
I think Tiger came in here with a number in his head and thought, "If I don't make mistakes I'll win." Now he's in a fight with the type of guy who gives him trouble in a major: an older journeyman who's playing well and is mature enough to not let "the Tiger effect" bother him. See: Rocco, Bob May.
5:36 p.m. Woods makes a bogey. 6-under, tied with Yang. They're three shots ahead of everybody else.
5:35 p.m. Yang, lag putt, par. We could have a tie ballgame here soon.
5:33 p.m. Woods can't get his chip close from that packed mud behind the green. Advantage Yang.
5:30 p.m. Lee Trevino on pressure: "You don't know what pressure is until you've played for $5 a hole with only $2 in your pocket."
In that spirit, here's a story on Yang facing pressure from his coach, Friend of the Blog Brian Mogg: Yang finished 60th on his first year playing Korean Tour after his military service. Only 60 kept their cards and by 100 dollars, he kept his career moving forward and made progress every year.
5:28 p.m. Woods overshoots the green on No 12; Yang on the green with a long putt.
5:26 p.m. Reader Bill Wiese asks: Do you think Tiger is "just playing the course, not the man" right now, but will kick into "pressure mode" down the stretch?
I think Tiger always plays the hole, not the man. But if he thinks he can increase the temperature for his opponent, he will. See: 16th hole at the Bridgestone last Sunday.
5:23 p.m. Tiger way left on the 518-yard par-4 12, but the CBS guys think he'll have a shot, Yang is in the fairway. Playing as toughest hole at any major this year.
5:21 p.m. Even as a member of the "sports media," I don't understand why you need 50 photographers around the green taking pictures of the same thing.
Why all the writers? Well, we need those guys.
5:19 p.m. Yang makes par. Tiger alone in the lead. Your move, Mr. Yang.
5:18 p.m. Woods, lag putt, birdie. That's the idea. 7-under.
5:17 p.m. Kind of a dud pitch shot for Yang, he's got a lot left for birdie. Advantage Tiger.
5:13 p.m. Woods goes for it, on the green in two with about 25 feet for eagle. Yang has about 50 yards left for his third shot.
5:12 p.m. Reader William asks: Mike: I am in Alaska following only through your blog. How does Tiger look? Calm or a bit tense?
We're getting Woods the Grinder today. Doesn't have the superhero strut as he does when he's hitting on all four, not the "allergies acting up" eyes that he gets when he's struggling.
5:09 p.m. Woods hits a great drive on the par-5 11th. Will he stick with the conservative game plan? We'll see. Friend of the Blog Mike Corcoran says Woods' strategy today reminds him of another great champion: Kind of boring, but Tiger is playing classic "Nicklaus with or tied for the lead" golf right now. In other words, hang on and wait for everyone else to mess up, and start to feel the heat.
5:05 p.m. Tiger is not nearly as close with his birdie attempt. Some sort of right-of-way mixup between Anthony Kim on 18 and Woods on 9. Tiger's caddie Stevie Williams not pleased. Citizens of Minneapolis, hide your cameras.
5:03 p.m. Oooooooooh. Yang hits the perfect Castro putt for birdie, needed one more revolution. Makes par.
(Sorry about that one.)
5:01 p.m. Yang hits the green but much farther away than Tiger. Maybe it's not your luck but what you do with it.
5:00 p.m. Tiger makes a beautiful approach on the downhill 10th hole--my favorite at Hazeltine--he's got a very makeable birdie putt.
4:57 p.m. We don't talk much about luck in sports, but it's a huge factor, especially in golf. At least Yang thinks so: Well, I believe in luck. And it's certainly been a lucky
year so far. I think it all started from the second stage of Q-School
and it was the last day, last putt, and I made a 7-foot uphill putt and
I think the confidence just took a turn and ever since then it's been
sort of I wouldn't say downhill in an easy way, but it's been easy and
that's why I had one win under my belt now.
So, yeah, it's a lot of luck. I mean, apart from working on my game, it's been a lot of luck and also, yes, that helps a lot with your confidence as well.
4:53 p.m. You need luck to win a major. Yang gets his with a pinball bounce into the fairway from mounds in the left rough. Woods' tee shot goes with into the trees, but the ball manages to dribble out into the fairway. Hard to say who God is rooting for after that. He must just want a good match.
4:50 p.m. Yang makes par on No. 9 as well. CBS wonders, "Is there a 32 on the back nine?" Not unless Magic Johnson is out there watching.
4:49 p.m. Tiger Woods, lag putt, par. I'm sensing a theme.
4:47 p.m. Legendary golf scribe Dan Jenkins on Harrington's watery grave on 8, via twitter: The Irish do love funerals.
4:45 p.m. Workman-like approaches from our co-leaders into No. 9. Tiger is in boa constrictor mode--wants to keep making pars and increase the pressure on Yang. Too conservative? We'll see.
4:44 p.m. Soren Kjedsen three-putts No 10 and falls to 3-under. Maybe they need to get tougher in Denmark too.
4:40 p.m. Decent tee shots for Woods and Yang on 9. Very fitting that on the week golf gets in the Olympics, the PGA leaderboard has a very international flavor: Woods (U.S.), Yang (Korea), Harrington (Ireland), Kjeldsen (Denmark).
"The success of international players is good news for the game, but bad news for American golf," says Friend of the Blog Eddie Merrins, who coached UCLA to a National Championship. "We've done a great job of spoiling players in the U.S. and when they become pros they're not tough enough to win a big tournament."
Present company excepted, Mr. Woods.
4:36 p.m. Yang borrows Tom Watson's putting stroke from the final hole of the British Open and blows a very makeable putt for the lead. Tied with Tiger at 6-under and it's probably time to start watching Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen, 4-under through 9.
4:35 p.m. Tigers bunker shot runs long. He's been 100 percent from the sand this week. That streak is over. 6-under.
4:33 p.m. Reader Ben asks: Great comments about shot placement- keep them coming. Do you think it's possible Tiger can win the tournament without a "Holy Cow!" shot this round?
I don't think anyone will top Harrington's "Holy Cow!" chip into the water on 8. Tiger will need to do something to shake Yang.
4:30 p.m. The par-3 eighth is the hole of destiny. Harrington derails his round with an 8, Woods hits in in the bunker right while Yang makes an almost perfect shot and is inside 10 feet. Somewhere, Rocco Mediate is nodding.
4:28 p.m. Harrington makes a quintiple bogey 8 on the par-3 eighth. Heckuva a run these last couple weeks, Paddy, see you in Augusta!
4:26 p.m. Disaster alert! Harrington puts two in the water on the par-3 8th. His tee shot, then a greenside pitch.
4:24 p.m. Another lag putt and par from Tiger. The dirty secret of golf is that Tiger can be mind-numbingly boring to watch. But he's effective.
4:22 p.m. Yang gets it on the green from the crowd, long putt left but he's inside "prevent defense" Tiger in three.
4:21 p.m. Woods is on the green with his third shot, but he's on the wrong side of the ridge. When was the last time Tiger's iron-play let him down?
4:19 p.m. We've been focusing on Woods, Harrington and Yang because, well, one of them will win this tournament. Lucas Glover has dropped to 4-under through 8. If anyone makes a move, we'll let you know. Rory is hot today, but still 3-under through 12.
4:16 p.m. Y.E. Yang didn't come all the way from Korea to lay up, but he overshoots the green and hits it into the crowd. Where? Look for the body on the ground.
4:15 p.m. Tiger lays up from 240 on No. 7. The prevent defense? Uh-oh.
4:14 p.m. Yang has gone birdie-eagle-birdie on the par-5 seventh hole this week, so he has that going for him.
4:12 p.m. Harrington just misses another birdie on No. 7--he's rolling it really well and the putts will start to drop soon.
4:08 p.m. Woods and Yang both make pars on No. 6. Good par for Yang. Tiger should have given himself a better chance at birdie from that perfect fairway lie, but he's still the leader and Yang's having to scramble.
4:06 p.m. Harrington needed safety glasses for that rough on No. 7, still a lot of work left for Paddy.
4:05 p.m. Tiger's ball is not listening to him today, it forgets to spin back on 6 and lands in the fringe.
4:03 p.m. Yang pulls of a Tiger-esque approach from the tree and lands it close on the sixth green. Trees, water, thick rough...no problem. He probably could have hit it through a ring of fire as well.
3:59 p.m. Harrington in the thick stuff with his drive No. 7; Woods splits the fairway on 6 while Yang's a little off-line with his drive.
3:55 p.m. Tiger par on 5; Yang bogey on 5; Harrington par on 6. Tiger 7-under, one stroke lead.
3:54 p.m. Tiger and Yang both escape trouble and they each have 6-footers for their par saves. Ernie Els gets back to 3-under with a birdie on No. 7.
3:53 p.m. Gutsy approach by Harrington gets over the water and stops about 10 feet from the hole. Birdie possibility. If Tiger and Yang both make bogey on No. 5--definitely possible--this thing is wide open. Keep an eye on Rory McIlroy--3-under and 2-under today through 9.
3:50 p.m. Tiger lands in the left bunker on No. 5. This wasn't in the script.
3:48 p.m. Yang hits his first bad shot of the day, short-siding himself on the right side of the fifth green. Looks nasty.
3:46 p.m. Reader Thomas W. Hague asks: I just watched Harrington brush across the green (on 4) with his hand like he was grooming the ground, not picking up debris. Am I wrong, or is that a penalty?
If Paddy was grooming the ground, it would be a penalty. I didn't notice it, but I would be surprised if that's what he was really doing, however it may have looked. Paddy's a smart guy and that rule is pretty easy to understand.
3:44 p.m. Woods hits a bomb into the fairway on No. 5--Yang right there too. Glover drops one on No. 6, now 5-over.
3:41 p.m. Another par by Harrington on 5--he's just one back. As Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs says, "Harrington is like a rash--he just won't go away."
3:40 p.m. Yang's putt ends up just a couple inches short. He had the line right. Woods misses his and drops to 7-under and a tie with Yang. Somewhere a dog is barking.
3:39 p.m. Not a great lag putt for Tiger on No. 4 and he'll have about 6 feet left on a hole that he made bogey on yesterday.
3:38 p.m. Golf writer Mike Corcoran, longtime Friend of the Blog, thinks the CBS guys' man-crush on Woods has gone too far: Whatever happened to no cheering in the press box? These guys are drooling over Tiger.
3:35 p.m. Woods on the green on the par-3 fourth, nothing remarkable. Yang has a long putt too but everything he does today to stay with Tiger will be remarkable.
3:33 p.m. I'm all for age limits on bringing baseball gloves to games, asking players for autographs and watching live golf with a periscope. How about 12?
3:31 p.m. Yang makes his birdie putt on No. 3--7-under and one back. Bob May, Rocco Mediate, Y.E. Yang?
3:30 p.m. Harrington makes his sand save for par on No. 4; Woods lags his putt close on No. 3 and bags another par. Glover's 2-under through 5 looks pretty impressive right now.
3:28 p.m. Lucas Glover makes another birdie on No 5 and he's 6-under, just two back. What does a U.S. Open champion have to do to get respect?
3:24 p.m. Yang ends up much closer than Woods on the No. 3 green. Yang sinks his and this is officially interesting.
3:21 p.m. Paddy in the right side bunker on the par 3 fourth. Not ideal. Woods finds the green but overshoots the hole. Woods tells the ball," Bitebitebitebitebitebite" but it doesn't listen.
3:19 p.m. Tiger puts a good hit on his fairway bunker shot on 3. Meanwhile, Harrington makes another par there on a hole that gave him some trouble.
3:18 p.m. Reader Wave06 from Munich writes: I would love a 30 second play by play, however great the commentary is.
Wave06, I will try, but these guys don't play as fast as you German golfers do.
3:17 p.m. Geoff Ogilvy (5-over, final) checks in via Twitter:
I am thinking we should all pool together and buy the PGA a lawn mower for christmas
3:16 p.m. Tiger's tee shot on the par-5 third hole lands in the left bunker, Yang in the fairway.
3:15 p.m. Reader Viagra writers: Cialis commercial, drink!
That could get dangerous.
3:11 p.m. Pars for Tiger and Yang make pars on No. 2--Tiger's birdie attempt took a look in the hole as it went by.
3:07 p.m. Tiger sticks another approach close on No. 2--Yang responds. They'll both have make-able birdie putts. Lucas Glover has a short putt left for birdie on 3 and 5-under.
3:04 p.m. Another par for Harrington on No. 2. He is rolling the ball well today.
3:02 p.m. Tiger plays iron on the par-4 second. He and Yang both hit good tee shots. Woods played very conservatively yesterday and Wold Golf Hall of Fame Teacher Eddie Merrins didn't like it.
"Tiger is at his best when he's out there relating to par the very best he can. Yesterday all those irons and woods off the tee prevented him from shooting a low score. It's like football. The only thing a "prevent" defense prevents is winning," Merrins says.
3:00 p.m. Please let us know what you think of the action in the comments and tell us where you're from. It's the last major until April 2010--let's try to have some fun today.
2:58 p.m. Tiger's birdie putt just misses and he stares at the ball like it was a misbehaving child. Par.
2:55 p.m. Yang's putt on No. 1 just misses, he'll make par. Why do Korean women dominate the LPGA Tour, but there are only a few Korean men playing on Tour? Korea's mandatory 2-year military commitment for males, says Southern California legendary teaching pro Eddie Merrins. "Those years between 18 and 20 are very important to a young gofler's development," Merrins says.
2:52 p.m. Good drive by Harrington on No. 2 after he makes par on 1. The sky is shining, which is not always Paddy's favorite: If you ask me the ideal conditions, if you ask me the ideal tournament, I'd like at least one day of difficult conditions for everybody.
2:50 p.m. Yang on the green from 189 yards, about 20 feet or so from pin; Tiger playing from the first cut, hits it to about 10 feet.
2:47 p.m. Yang in the fairway as well. Sure, we all wanted to see Paddy with Tiger, but don't sleep on Yang. We asked Yang's coach, Golf Mag Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg, what to watch for today. Here's what Brian said:
Yang is playing well and he does a great job of staying relaxed and not putting pressure on himself. He has excellent rhythm and has built to this point in his career with hard work, fortitude and not "overtrying" to make his career happen. If he can stay still longer with his putting and stroke, get off to a solid start and deal with the hoopla of being in Tigers group, he should have a solid round and take a lot from the tournament. He is ploaying well enough to win but Tiger has an advantage with his experience as there are some good names all within distance of the lead.
2:46 p.m. Despite the entreaties of some Minnesota fans, Tiger's drive on No. 1 does not "get in the hole." He is in the fairway though.
2:45 p.m. Woods and Yang on the first tee box. On the tee, from Windemere, Florida....
2:40 p.m. Good looking leaderboard: Woods (8-under), Y.E. Yang and Padraig Harrington (6-under), U.S. Open champ Lucas Glover and Players champ Henrik Stenson (4-under). The lesson, according to Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs, is that in golf when you're hot, you're hot: It's amazing how the guys in good firm coming into the week are playing well. Tiger, Harrington, Rollins, Fisher, Yang, Glover. It is the most important thing.
2:35 p.m. Everyone but Tiger and surprising Y.E. Yang on the course now. Rainy conditions in Hazeltine, and not a lot of low scores out there so far today.
2:30 p.m. Welcome back to the Golf.com PGA Championship Live Blog, where we always wear red on Sundays, just like Padraig Harrington, who landed his drive on No. 1 in the first cut.