What an absolutely amazing performance from Y.E. Yang. Tiger Woods did not choke this tournament away. Y.E. Yang won it.
Yang fired a final round 70(-2), tied for the best round of the day. What makes that more impressive, is that he did that right in front of Tiger Woods. In a major. Sure, people have beaten Tiger before, but not with the round of the day, in the final pairing of a major. That was a special performance.
Yang actually threw out a very Tiger-like performance over the weekend. In fact, if you break down the numbers:
-137 over the weekend for Yang:
-4 shots better than the next best, the group at 141(Zach Johnson, Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy)
-Field average: 147.7
That looks a lot like what Tiger did to strong fields at Bridgestone and the Memorial Tournament earlier in the year. This was definitely the kind of performance from Yang that we have come to expect only from Tiger.
Familiarity breeds lots of one putts:
I wrote this on Monday:
On the other hand, his putting has been phenomenal the past two weeks. Tiger is certainly the best putter, particularly when it matters inside 10 feet, but I really think he is going on an unreasonable pace the past two weeks. Get him on some greens that he hasn’t played 10 times throughout his career and we will see if he keeps reading all the putts right.
I actually think on the ball striking front, Tiger was about on par with where he was at the past few weeks. The difference: He missed a bunch of those 5-10 and even 20 footers that were falling on courses where he presumably knows every break of the greens.
Throw in the bumpy greens, and that was why Tiger fell short. His putting simply wasn’t good enough to overcome sometimes shoddy ball striking like he did in the past two weeks. It’s good to know the law of averages applies to Tiger too.
Coming back to Hazeltine
I dogged Hazeltine earlier in the week as not being a great course and it’s still not my favorite, but they need to bring another major back here for sure.
Look at the leaderboard: You had the super-talented (Tiger, McIlroy), bombers(Dustin Johnson), ball-strikers(Yang), shorter hitters(ZJ, Kjeldsen) and a lot of other strong players up there(Stenson, Westwood, Els, Kaymer, Glover). I think that is the mark of a good major course. Just get that poa annua off the greens.
5 players you didn’t notice
Martin Kaymer- What a strong summer it has been for Martin with two wins in Europe and now a backdoor top-6 finish.
Zach Johnson-I’m not at all surprised that Johnson played well on this course as the obscenely long par-5s mitigated the distance factor and may have actually played to his straight driving, good putting and superb wedge play. Top ten at a major is very good, especially when you get no attention for it.
Francesco Molinari- Molinari used a strong weekend to another good finish at a US Major. How long until he is dominating us in the Ryder Cup?
Hunter Mahan- Hunter may have shot himself out of the tournament on Saturday, but a strong Sunday brought him back into the top-15. That is another great finish for Mahan who is making a good case that he is the most talented young American player.
Tim Clark- Clark continues to remain one of the best, if not most anonymous players in the world. Nothing really impresses you about him except he keeps putting his neck up in tournaments where you wouldn’t expect it belongs.
A recap of this championship would be incomplete without a mention of the famous Mitch Tiger Woods Lowe. So, I went back and looked at how the Club Pro’s played. On average, they were .90 standard deviations worse than the field when adjusted for strength of field. That comes out to a .00024% chance of actually winning the tournament. It also gives Mitch Lowe a 12% chance of beating a tour pro on the caliber of Alvaro Quiros and a 1.5% chance of beating Tiger Woods over four rounds. -130 was probably a big mistake.