Y.E. Yang, who won the 2009 PGA Championship by being the first player ever to win a professional tournament that was led by Tiger Woods going into the final round, is an extraordinarily skilled golfer who yesterday posted a score on the back nine of the U.S. Open that would have been satisfactory to none outside the mass of foozlers who suffer the indignities of the game at every opportunity and find contentment in keeping their stroke total under three digits.
Despite his travails, particularly while making every manner of poor pitch, chip, and bump shot while criss-crossing the 14th green in the course of posting a triple bogey, Mr. Yang maintained an admirably stoic demeanor. He shouted no vulgarities; he slammed no clubhead to the turf; he distributed no blame to his caddie, to any photographers, or to the Creator who essentially designed the Pebble Beach Golf Links. For this Mr. Yang deserves our praise and admiration.
Wodehouse’s pontificator on all golfing matters, The Oldest Member, might have gone so far as to argue that Mr. Yang could have brought his game under control in time to keep his score above the cutting line yesterday if he had relinquished his control over his emotions when adversity first was encountered. As the O.M. said in Chester Forgets Himself:
I have made a close study of the game since the days of the feather ball, and I am firmly convinced that to refrain entirely from oaths during a round is almost equivalent to giving away three bisques. There are certain occasions when an oath seems to be so imperatively demanded that the strain of keeping it in must inevitably affect the ganglions or nerve-centres in such a manner as to diminish the steadiness of the swing.
I myself would not go as far as to advise Mr. Yang to start emulating Tommy Bolt, for Y.E.’s maintenance of an even strain serves us all well as an example of grace under pressure. Instead I offer this bit of solace, from The Heel of Achilles:
And so (concluded the Oldest Member) you see that in golf there is no such thing as a soft snap. You can never be certain of the finest player. Anything may happen to the greatest expert at any stage of the game. In a recent competition George Duncan took eleven shots over a hole which eighteen-handicap men generally do in five.
Update: Chin up, Dustin Johnson. You and Y.E. should have a pint together in St. Andrews next month.