What's Next?

With Y.E. Yang's come from behind victory over Tiger Woods, what does this mean for golf? Asian men being a little more successful on the PGA Tour? Increased ratings even when Tiger isn't in the hunt? Will all-white replace Sunday red?


  1. Tiger Woods is still the best golfer in the world, but something changed yesterday. While watching the third round, at one point Tiger had a four shot lead and friend asked for the odds that Tiger doesn't win the tournament. I said 50-1. Tiger Woods leading by 4 with 20-22 holes to play? I would not have argued if someone said 1000-1. There was a time going into a British Open that Tiger was even money to win the tournament. That's right, you could pick Tiger or the field. Tiger won.

    Something changed yesterday and I can't put my finger on it. I wonder if ratings will go up when Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, or Y.E. Yang are in contention, just like they do when Tiger, Phil, Paddy, or Sergio are leading. Or will a gradual decline in Tiger's dominance hurt th sport?

  2. That is a fantastic question. There is something to the guys you mentioned - Tiger, Phil, Paddy Harrington, Sergio Garcia - where they all have a strong personality or something. Some of the guys in the other list - Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink - are very good golfers, but I don't think they would ever drive ratings.

    I remember back when Vijay Singh was considered the second best golfer in the world, but I don't feel like he got ratings or fans excited. Is it because in golf, kind of like the NBA, you need a combo of talent and personality to be a ratings success?

    Also I didn't watch the final Sunday, did you? What was it like as you were watching it? Total disbelief? Cringing as Tiger choked?

  3. I was reading Jason Sobel's Live Blog in the morning (which is BY FAR the second best way to follow a tournament after the live TV coverage. Nothing else even comes close.) and the TV coverage in the afternoon. Sobel made the point very early in Tiger's round, that his mindset was not to shoot 65 and beat the field by ten. Tiger's goal was to shoot 70 and win by one or two. That conservative approach did him just fine, until Yang chipped in for eagle to take the lead. THAT was the defining shot of the tournament. The rest of the time, Yang was playing conservative golf, making good shots, while Woods was trying to make better shots and was not executing. Tiger hit the green, but bounced into the second cut of rough 3-4 times in the last 6 holes.

    The announcers gave me the impression that the ball was going to spin back if the ball hit the fringe or green after the bounce, but he ended up missing by a foot each time and getting no spin back.

    Tiger's conservative approach hurt him because he wasn't making anything outside 5 feet. Tiger had his best opportunity to tie on 17. Yang hit his tee shot 40 feet short of the hole on the green. Tiger bounced near the hole, one foot into the rough and got no spin back. Tiger chipped to about 10 feet. Yang left his lag putt a good 12 feet short. So if Tiger makes his and Yang misses, they are tied. I honestly felt that was going to happen, because it has happened so many times in the past. But Tiger burned the edge and Yang was a couple inches off. They both bogeyed heading into the 18th.

    On 18 both hit the fairway, Yang hit a 3 hybrid to 6 feet and the tournament was over. Tiger tried to hit it closer, but bounced hard and landed in the rough. Missed the chip 15 feet past and two-putted. Yang made his birdie putt. So even though Yang won by three, it felt like he won by one.

    As for my feelings, it felt a lot like the US Open, when Tiger kept lipping out. He seemed like an average pro, he never choked or screwed up. He just wasn't making the amazing shots that only he can make. I guess I spent the time wondering how Tiger was going to come back. Was he going to force a playoff? Yang only opened the door once and Tiger couldn't make a 10 foot putt to walk through.

  4. Go to Jason Sobel's Live Blog (same link as before) and read 2:49-2:58. The first hole and Sobel's commentary pretty much summed up the tournament.

  5. Good link, that was a great read

    That's interesting because it doesn't sound like there is a ton of mystery to it - Tiger just got outplayed to a degree. It's funny cause I would completely expect him to make the 6-foot putt that Sobel talks about and the 10-foot putt that you talk about.

    In fact when I think back on defining Tiger Woods moments, I can remember some huge putts that won him tournaments. This is a little bit like watching Michael Jordan miss a game-winning buzzer-beater - you think, wait, I thought he was gonna make that? But there's not necessarily an "explanation" for him missing it...

    The fact that Tiger was dominating the field and had a lead going into Sunday makes me think that Yang played some really good golf. In fact, Tiger's performance here makes me more confident that he's still the favorite in every tournament.

    Would you agree with that?

  6. I'd say overall Yang was playing good golf with 3-4 GREAT shots (especially the chip in for eagle and the 3 hybrid to 6 feet on 18). I think if Yang was playing great golf, he wouldn't have left a lag putt on 17 so short. He had two bogeys, and one could have been VERY costly, he had two birdies an eagle. The chip in for eagle won him the tournament, while the last birdie was inconsequential.

    Tiger just felt very average, not bad, but not impressive. I think he will continue to be the favorite in every tournament, but his 14/14 is now 14/15 (winning majors after having the 54-hole lead) and this will be mentioned EVERY Sunday.