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Yang Makes His Presence Known

Posted November. 14, 2006 07:43,   


He woke up one day and everything was different. At times, he even wants to pinch himself to make sure he’s not dreaming. Every newspaper that he picks up on his way home has a big picture of him on it. There are many pictures of him posing next to the emperor of golf, Tiger Woods (U.S.A., right). He cannot believe that the person standing next to Tiger Woods is “actually me.” A large group of reporters packed into the airport and greeted him with the blinding flashes of their cameras.

Yang Yong-eun (34, GaugeDesign, left) returned home gloriously after winning the EPGA HSBC Champions Tournament. Yang had planned to return in the early morning on November 13, but because of a rush of events and interview requests, he missed the flight that had originally been reserved and arrived at Incheon International Airport in the afternoon.

Yang said, “To be honest, I casually entered this tournament but won unexpectedly. I can’t believe this is happening. I feel as if the picture I took with Woods was created with a computer.”

Yang, who beamed a bright smile throughout the press conference, became emotional when talking about his family who had endured the tough times with him. “I want to buy my wife a good car. I asked her to wait just 10 years, but…” He could not finish his sentence, choked with emotion.

Yang will have no time to enjoy his success as he will be leaving for Japan on November 14 to participate in the 2006 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, which will commence on November 16 at the Phoenix Country Club (Par 70) in Miyazaki, Japan. For the second week in a row, Yang will be playing against Woods, who is looking for a third consecutive win.

Woods admitted that until last week’s HSBC Champions reward ceremony, “I didn’t know anything about Yang Yong-eun.” But in Japan, Woods might even go up to Yang and greet him first. Woods, who had been on a 6-tournament winning streak in the PGA Tour, most likely would have developed a strong impression of Yang, who prevented his victory and kept him in second place. Shortly after the tournament ended on November 12, Woods got on his private chartered airplane and arrived in Japan in order to work on defending his title. Ahead of the rematch with Tiger Woods, Yang said, “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to beat him if we play again.” But he added, “Golf has many variables so it’s impossible to be sure who will win.” The tournament organizing committee was worried that Yang would take part in the Hong Kong Open, a joint European and Asian Tour championship occurring at the same time, but when his participation was confirmed, they were very interested in the rematch with Woods.

Yang, who is beginning to realize his status change, has a higher chance of becoming part of the top 40 in the world ranking and to be invited to the Masters next year. He is automatically invited to the major events of the European Tour. It also looks like sponsorship contracts are going to pour in.

The saying, “After a storm comes the calm,” seems to suit Yang Yong-eun, who looks like he’s in for smooth sailing.