The 2019 PGA Championship marks the 10-year anniversary of Y.E. Yang's surprising defeat of Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National Golf Club. The win wasn't just a momentous occasion on its own, but it also marked a drastic change in direction for Tiger's career, which he would take nearly a decade to get back on track.
Yang's accomplishment that Sunday at the 2009 PGA Championship had never been achieved before. He beat a front-running Tiger - who held a two-shot lead heading into the final round - to snap his 14-for-14 run of victories when leading a major after 54 holes. And he did so while playing alongside perhaps the most intimidating presence in golf.
Here is Tiger's incredible streak that Yang ended on Aug. 16, 2009:
|Major||54-hole lead||Margin of Victory|
|00 U.S. Open||10||15|
|00 Open Champ||6||8|
|02 U.S. Open||4||3|
|05 Open Champ||2||5|
|06 Open Champ||1||2|
|08 U.S. Open||1||Playoff|
Tiger looked primed to take home career major No. 15. He won the previous two events and was seeking a wire-to-wire victory to move one step closer to Jack Nicklaus' record of 18. Surely, no one was going to chase him down, especially not the 110th-ranked player in the world.
But Tiger's seemingly impenetrable armor weakened early due to an ice-cold putter. He carded two bogeys on the front nine and fell into a tie for the lead with his South Korean playing partner.
Yang, who was considered a relative unknown despite entering the tournament with three straight top-20 finishes and a win at the Honda Classic just months prior, hung tough with Tiger and eventually took the solo lead on the back nine.
With Tiger lining up a makeable birdie putt, Yang showed the world's best player he wasn't backing down. He chipped in for eagle on the short par-4 14th, forcing Tiger to make his putt to stay within one shot, which he did.
Little did we know, that 14th hole would be the last time Tiger held a share of the lead at a major until the 2018 Open Championship.
Then came the 18th; down one shot, Tiger stood in the middle of the fairway still with a chance to win the tournament. He needed to make birdie - or have Yang bogey - to force a playoff. A stumble from the leader seemed the obvious outcome after years of opposing golfers crumbling under the pressure of a Sunday with Tiger.
However, it was Yang who delivered the crushing blow we'd become so accustomed to seeing from Tiger in high-pressure spots. Yang hit his ball over a tree and landed it within feet of the cup. Woods, now needing a birdie, overshot the green with an aggressive approach and eventually made bogey to cap a final-round 75. Yang, on the other hand, made his birdie putt for a stunning two-shot victory and his first major title.
The defeat was the first in a series of unfortunate events for Tiger - both on and off the course. Luckily for golf fans, Tiger found his way and ensured the David versus Goliath showdown at Hazeltine was not the last time he would be in contention on the Sunday of a major championship.