Yang Yong-eun

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Yang Yong-eun
— Golfer —
Personal information
Full name Yang Yong-eun
Nickname The Tiger Killer
Born (1972-01-15) 15 January 1972 (age 50)
Sindo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si Jeju-do, South Korea
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 88 kg (194 lb; 13.9 st)
Nationality  South Korea
Residence Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Turned professional 1996
Current tour(s) European Tour
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Japan Golf Tour
Asian Tour
Professional wins 11
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 2
European Tour 3
Japan Golf Tour 5
Asian Tour 2
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament T8: 2010
U.S. Open T3: 2011
The Open Championship T16: 2011
PGA Championship Won: 2009
Korean name
Hangul 양용은
Hanja 梁容銀
Revised Romanization Yang Yong-eun
McCune–Reischauer Yang Yongŭn

Yang Yong-eun (Korean: 양용은, pronounced [jaŋ joŋ ɯn]; born 15 January 1972), or Y. E. Yang, is a South Korean professional golfer currently playing on the PGA Tour, where he has won twice, including most notably the 2009 PGA Championship where he came from behind to defeat Tiger Woods. He is the only Asian born man to have won a major championship.

Professional career

In 2006 he won the Korea Open, an Asian Tour event, gaining him entry into the HSBC Champions Tournament in November 2006. He won the tournament, beating a strong field including runner-up Tiger Woods. The victory earned him membership of the European Tour and moved him into the top 40 of the Official World Golf Rankings. In 2008 he played on the PGA Tour after earning his card through qualifying school; he had to regain his tour card in 2009 after placing 157th on the money list in 2008. Yang won his first event on the PGA Tour at the 2009 Honda Classic in his 46th career start in the United States. With this win, he became only the second Korean after K.J. Choi to win on the PGA Tour.

On 16 August 2009, Yang won the 91st PGA Championship, his first major championship, overcoming a two-shot deficit going into the final round to finish three strokes ahead of Woods, his playing partner.[1] The victory was the first major championship for a male player born in Asia, surpassing the runners-up finishes achieved by Lu Liang-Huan in the 1971 Open Championship, Isao Aoki in the 1980 U.S. Open and Chen Tze-chung in the 1985 U.S. Open. The previous best finish by a Korean was Choi's 3rd place in the 2004 Masters Tournament. It was also the first time that Woods had failed to win a major after holding at least a share of the lead at the end of 54 holes.[2] Yang was ranked 110th worldwide prior to the tournament, but moved up to 34th after the victory.[3] The win earned Yang a five-year PGA Tour exemption and helped him to a top ten finish overall on the PGA Tour.

In April 2010, Yang won the Volvo China Open with a one-under-par 71 final round.[4]

In February 2011, Yang had his best run at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship reaching the quarter-finals before eventually succumbing to American Matt Kuchar, 2&1. Previously Yang had defeated Álvaro Quirós on the 20th hole in round one, Stewart Cink, 4&3, in round two and the 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell in round three, 3&2.

The following week Yang was in contention for his 3rd PGA Tour title at The Honda Classic, an event where he had earned his inaugural PGA Tour win in 2009. Despite entering the final round five strokes behind the eventual winner Rory Sabbatini, he was able to close the gap to just one stroke by birdieing the par-three 15th, where he was 18 inches away from a hole in one. However, needing an eagle on the par-five 18th after Sabbatini had stretched his lead to two with a birdie on the par-four 16th, he was unable to hole his bunker shot and a birdie earned him a runner-up finish one stroke behind the winner.

Yang reached a career high OWGR ranking of 19th in 2010, but a string of bad finishes and missed cuts in 2013 and 2014 plummeted the former major winner to 638th at the end of 2014, the final year of his PGA Tour exemption after winning the 2009 PGA Championship. A poor 2014 saw Yang finish well outside the top 150 in the FedEx Cup, which limits him to the Past Champions category for 2015. Yang spent much of 2015 playing on the European Tour and Asian Tour. 2015 saw a resurgence for Yang, making the cut at the PGA Championship for the first time in multiple years. Yang moved up to 262nd in the world by November 2015.

Personal life

Yang was born in the island province of Jeju-do. He is the fourth of eight children. He started to play golf at the age of 19 while picking golf balls part-time and, later, working as a golf instructor at Jeju's Ora Country Club. Yang learned by watching the movements of players who visited his golf club. Although he now has teaching coaches, Yang is a self-taught golfer.[5] His brother recommended he try hitting balls at a local driving range. Trying to get a 'proper job', Yang fell down a flight of stairs and tore his ACL[6] while he was learning to use an excavator for a construction company.[7] After recovering from his knee injury, he began mandatory service in the South Korean military at the age of 21.

On conclusion of his service, he moved to New Zealand, where he pursued a professional career in golf. He turned semi-pro on 21 July 1995 and pro on 22 August 1996. Yang is married to Young-Joo Park and has three sons. He is an active owner of an indoor golf range in the Koreatown section of Dallas.[8] He currently resides in Southlake, Texas, near fellow South Korean PGA player K. J. Choi.[8]

Professional wins (11)

PGA Tour wins (2)

Major championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (1)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner-up
1 8 Mar 2009 Honda Classic −9 (68-65-70-68=271) 1 stroke United States John Rollins
2 16 Aug 2009 PGA Championship −8 (73-70-67-70=280) 3 strokes United States Tiger Woods

European Tour wins (3)

Major championships (1)
Other European Tour (2)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner(s)-up
1 12 Nov 2006
(2007 season)
HSBC Champions
(co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour)
−14 (66-72-67-69=274) 2 strokes United States Tiger Woods
2 16 Aug 2009 PGA Championship −8 (73-70-67-70=280) 3 strokes United States Tiger Woods
3 18 Apr 2010 Volvo China Open −15 (68-66-68-71=273) 2 strokes Wales Rhys Davies, Wales Stephen Dodd

Japan Golf Tour wins (5)

Major championships (1)
Other Japan Tour (4)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner(s)-up
1 8 Aug 2004 Sun Chlorella Classic −13 (67-70-69-69=275) 3 strokes New Zealand David Smail, Taiwan Yeh Wei-tze
2 7 Nov 2004 Asahi-Ryokuken Yomiuri Memorial −17 (69-78-69-65=271) 2 strokes Japan Shingo Katayama
3 9 Oct 2005 Coca-Cola Tokai Classic −18 (66-72-65-67=270) 4 strokes Japan Taichi Teshima
4 10 Sep 2006 Suntory Open −14 (67-68-68-63=266) 6 strokes Japan Hidemasa Hoshino, Japan Toru Taniguchi
5 16 Aug 2009 PGA Championship −8 (73-70-67-70=280) 3 strokes United States Tiger Woods

Asian Tour wins (2)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner-up
1 24 Sep 2006 Kolon-Hana Bank Korea Open −14 (65-67-68-70=270) 3 strokes South Korea Kang Ji-man
2 12 Nov 2006 HSBC Champions
(co-sanctioned with the European Tour)
−14 (66-72-67-69=274) 2 strokes United States Tiger Woods

OneAsia Tour wins (2)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 18 Apr 2010 Volvo China Open
(co-sanctioned with the European Tour)
−15 (68-66-68-71=273) 2 strokes Wales Rhys Davies, Wales Stephen Dodd
2 10 Oct 2010 Kolon Korea Open −4 (74-71-69-66=280) 2 strokes South Korea Choi Ho-sung, South Korea Kim Bi-o

Korean Tour wins (3)

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
2009 PGA Championship 2 shot deficit −8 (73-70-67-70=280) 3 strokes United States Tiger Woods

Results timeline

Tournament 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Masters Tournament DNP DNP T30 DNP CUT T8 T20 T57 CUT CUT DNP
The Open Championship CUT DNP CUT DNP DNP T60 T16 CUT T32 CUT DNP
PGA Championship T47 DNP CUT DNP 1 CUT T69 T36 CUT CUT T48

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 1 2 7 4
U.S. Open 0 0 1 1 1 1 6 1
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 3
PGA Championship 1 0 0 1 1 1 9 5
Totals 1 0 1 2 3 5 29 13
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 5 (2011 Masters – 2012 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (2009 PGA – 2010 Masters)

Results in World Golf Championships

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Accenture Match Play Championship DNP DNP DNP R64 DNP DNP R32 QF R32
Cadillac Championship 64 DNP DNP T65 DNP 74 T30 T39 59
Bridgestone Invitational DNP DNP DNP T56 DNP T19 T46 T53 T36
HSBC Champions T33 T51 DNP DNP
  • DNP = Did not play
  • QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
  • "T" = tied
  • Yellow background for top-10.
  • Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Team appearances


See also


  1. Dorman, Larry (16 August 2009). "Y. E. Yang Shocks Woods to Win at P.G.A." The New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Yang catches Woods for USPGA win". BBC Sport. 16 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Week 33 – Yang Yong-Eun (Y E Yang) Becomes The First Asian Player To Win A Major Championship With Victory At The 91st PGA Championship
  4. "Yang eases the pressure with victory". The Irish Times. The Irish Times Limited. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Associated Press (17 August 2009). "Yang's life changed forever with win over Tiger". NBC Sports. Retrieved 17 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Lerner, Rich (17 August 2009). "What's Next for Y.E. Yang?". The Golf Channel. Retrieved 19 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "PGA Championship, 'Wild' Woods". The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). 17 August 2009. Retrieved 17 August 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bill Nichols (8 April 2010). "Since historic win, Korean golfer finds balance with family in Southlake, at Dallas driving range". Dallas Morning News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links