From the Rough

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Archive for August 17th, 2009

Y.E. Yang gives us a blueprint for beating the greatest closer in the sport

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I can still remember a couple years back sitting in front of my television watching Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitch against the Minnesota Twins in a tight game in the bottom of the eight. Up until that point in the season, Rivera had been perfect in save situations on the year.

So when Delmon Young came to the plate, you almost figured it was a battle Young would end up losing. After all, he was going up against quite possibly the greatest closer in the history of the game. When ‘Enter Sandman’ came blaring over the loudspeaker at Yankee Stadium, you knew it was time to pack up the kids and head for the exit. He was as sure a lock as any pitcher in the game.

So when Young sent a Rivera pitch over the fences for a three-run homer, I recall almost spitting out my dinner at the one thing you don’t see very often with a pitcher of Rivera’s caliber: blowing a chance to closeout the game. You don’t see that happen very often. And by all accounts, it takes a very special player to get one over on one of the greatest closers in the game.

In golf, Tiger Woods is the closest thing to a perfect closer. He is to the game of golf what Rivera is to the closer position in baseball. Once he gets a lead, you might as well chalk it up as a win before the last putt.

At least that was the case until Sunday afternoon, when a South Korean named Y.E. Yang turned the golf world on its head with a performance that should have other players on high alert. The quiet South Korean may have found a chink in Tiger’s armor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Jonathan Wall

08/17/2009 at 7:18 pm

Tiger adds his name to the greatest major championship runner-up list of all-time

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When the 2009 season began way back in January on the lush fairways of the Hawaiian Islands, nobody, and I mean nobody, expected we’d have a list of major champions that didn’t include the name Tiger Woods.

The last time Tiger went major-less was way back in 2004, when Phil Mickelson won his first major championship at The Masters, and the golfing world for a split second believed Lefty had the game to overtake Woods in the World Golf Rankings.

Well that never happened. What did happen was Tiger reeled off at least one major championship over the next four years. So when the tour arrived at Augusta in April, it only seemed right to pick Tiger as the prohibitive favorite — even though he was just returning from knee surgery.

Fast forward past The Masters, the U.S. Open, a blustery British Open and the PGA Championship, and what do you have? A season without Tiger’s name on a single major championship trophy, and a group of major winners, only one of which is currently in the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

08/17/2009 at 3:57 pm