▲ Jeju native Yang Yong Eun has reason to celebrate as he stunned the golfing world Aug. 16 by defeating Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship, taking home the coveted top trophy. Photo courtesy Jeju Provincial Government
Jeju native Yang Yong Eun stunned the golfing world Aug. 16 by defeating Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship. In doing so Yang became the first Asian-born man to claim such a major tournament — a stunning rise for the self-taught player who did not swing his first golf club until he was 19. He was born to a rural farming family on Jeju island and made his golfing debut in 1997.
Though relatively little-known on the international circuit, Yang was named Rookie of the Year after going pro in 1996 and has twice beaten Woods, but never on such a big stage. Yang, known in the United States as Y.E. Yang, finished the game with a 70 in the championship to reach 8 under par for the tournament and posted a 3-stroke victory over Woods.
Yang's PGA Championship victory was described by CNN as "the most extraordinary upset ever" in the tournament's history. Yang is ranked 110th in the world. South Korean president Lee Myung-bak watched the tournament live on TV and phoned Yang to offer his congratulations.
Most golf practice ranges and country clubs on Jeju have banners up saying “Congratulations Yang Yong-Eun on winning the PGA Championship.” The Ora Country Club, where Yang worked part time in the 1990s, offered a Yang Yong-Eun promotion discount.
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