Yang Yong-eun

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Yang Yong-eun
Personal information
Full nameYang Yong-eun
NicknameThe Tiger Killer
Born (1972-01-15) 15 January 1972 (age 49)
Sindo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si Jeju-do, South Korea
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight88 kg (194 lb; 13.9 st)
NationalityFlag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Residence Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Turned professional1996
Current tour(s) Japan Golf Tour
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Asian Tour
European Tour
Professional wins12
Highest ranking 19 (16 May 2010) [1]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour2
European Tour3
Japan Golf Tour5
Asian Tour2
Sunshine Tour1
PGA Tour of Australasia1
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament T8: 2010
PGA Championship Won: 2009
U.S. Open T3: 2011
The Open Championship T16: 2011
Achievements and awards
Korean Tour
Order of Merit winner
2004, 2006

Yang Yong-eun (Korean : 양용은; born 15 January 1972), also called 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.


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 Ranking. In 2008 he played on the PGA Tour after earning his membership 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 title 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. [2] 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. [3] Yang was ranked 110th worldwide prior to the tournament, but moved up to 34th after the victory. [4] 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. [5]

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 limited 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.

After a poor 2016 European Tour season where he finished outside 110th, Yang regained his Tour card through Q School.

In 2021, Yang got disqualified from 103rd PGA Championship at The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island Resort, in South Carolina for signing an incorrect scorecard following the second round. [6]

Personal life

Yang was born in the island province of Jeju-do. [7] [8] 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 coaches, Yang is a self-taught golfer. [9] 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 [10] while he was learning to use an excavator for a construction company. [11] 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. [12] He currently resides in Southlake, Texas, near fellow South Korean PGA player K. J. Choi. [12]

Professional wins (12)

PGA Tour wins (2)

Major championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (1)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
18 Mar 2009 The Honda Classic −9 (68-65-70-68=271)1 stroke Flag of the United States.svg John Rollins
216 Aug 2009 PGA Championship −8 (73-70-67-70=280)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods

European Tour wins (3)

Major championships (1)
Other European Tour (2)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
112 Nov 2006
(2007 season)
HSBC Champions 1−14 (66-72-67-69=274)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods
216 Aug 2009 PGA Championship −8 (73-70-67-70=280)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods
318 Apr 2010 Volvo China Open 2−15 (68-66-68-71=273)2 strokes Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Rhys Davies, Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Stephen Dodd

1Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia
2Co-sanctioned by the OneAsia Tour

Japan Golf Tour wins (5)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
18 Aug 2004 Sun Chlorella Classic −13 (67-70-69-69=275)3 strokes Flag of New Zealand.svg David Smail, Flag of the Republic of China.svg Yeh Wei-tze
27 Nov 2004 Asahi-Ryokuken Yomiuri Memorial −17 (69-78-69-65=271)2 strokes Flag of Japan.svg Shingo Katayama
39 Oct 2005 Coca-Cola Tokai Classic −18 (66-72-65-67=270)4 strokes Flag of Japan.svg Taichi Teshima
410 Sep 2006 Suntory Open −14 (67-68-68-63=266)6 strokes Flag of Japan.svg Hidemasa Hoshino, Flag of Japan.svg Toru Taniguchi
529 Apr 2018 The Crowns −12 (67-67-67-67=268)4 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg Hwang Jung-gon, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Anthony Quayle

Japan Golf Tour playoff record (0–1)

1 2006 ABC Championship Flag of Japan.svg Shingo Katayama Lost to birdie on second extra hole

Asian Tour wins (2)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
124 Sep 2006 Kolon-Hana Bank Korea Open 1−14 (65-67-68-70=270)3 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg Kang Ji-man
212 Nov 2006 HSBC Champions 2−14 (66-72-67-69=274)2 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods

1Co-sanctioned by the Korean Tour
2Co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Sunshine Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia

OneAsia Tour wins (2)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
118 Apr 2010 Volvo China Open 1−15 (68-66-68-71=273)2 strokes Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Rhys Davies, Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Stephen Dodd
210 Oct 2010 Kolon Korea Open 2−4 (74-71-69-66=280)2 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg Choi Ho-sung, Flag of South Korea.svg Kim Bi-o

1Co-sanctioned by the European Tour
2Co-sanctioned by the Korean Tour

OneAsia Tour playoff record (0–1)

1 2012 Nanshan China Masters Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Liang Wenchong Lost to birdie on fifth extra hole

Korean Tour wins (3)

Major championships

Wins (1)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
2009 PGA Championship 2 shot deficit−8 (73-70-67-70=280)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Tiger Woods

Results timeline

Results not in chronological order in 2020.

Masters Tournament T30CUT
U.S. Open CUT
The Open Championship CUTCUT
PGA Championship T47CUT 1
Masters Tournament T8T20T57CUTCUT
The Open Championship T60T16CUTT32CUT
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship CUTDQ
U.S. Open
The Open Championship NT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
DQ = disqualified
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic


TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament 00001274
PGA Championship 100111135
U.S. Open 00111161
The Open Championship 00000173

Results in The Players Championship

The Players Championship CUTT34CUTCUTCUTCUT

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Results in World Golf Championships

Match Play R64R32QFR32
Championship 64T6574T30T3959
Invitational T56T19T46T53T36
Champions T33T51
  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Team appearances


See also

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  6. CNN, Ben Morse. "Y.E. Yang, the man who beat Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship, is disqualified". CNN. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
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