MIAMI // YE Yang failed to build on his victory at the HSBC Champions tournament in Nov 2006, but the South Korean promised to use Sunday's Honda Classic triumph as a springboard to more success. Yang, 37, became only the second South Korean to win on the US PGA Tour after KJ Choi, and clinched the Classic's US$1 million (Dh3.67m) top prize.
The future had looked bright for Yang after he beat a top class HSBC Champions field that included Tiger Woods a little over two years ago, but he had a long wait for his next big win. "Ever since I won the HSBC Champions, there were a lot of expectations from people around me, and even on myself," Yang said after his one-stroke victory over the American John Rollins. "I think I'm a lot more mature. I think my dreams are now bigger, now that I've won here. My expectations are higher, and I think I can do a better job."
Yang said his career had gone downhill since 2006 and that Sunday's victory was a relief. "For the past two years, it was frustrating. I wasn't able to win for two years. My performances were just not that great. My rankings had fallen down," added Yang, who came to PGA National this week ranked 460. "But after winning I feel very relieved. All of the pressure is off my shoulders." Yang's HSBC triumph allowed him to fulfil a dream to play in the 2007 Masters, where he finished tied for 30th. "Up to that point, my dream was to play in the Masters. When I got invited, I had actually realised my dream. After that, my passion for the game went down a little bit. I took things for granted.
"But after winning, I realise that there's a bigger goal out there," Yang added. The golfer said he was inspired by his compatriot Shin Ji-yai's six-shot comeback win at the $2m HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore on Sunday, and the South Korean baseball team's 14-0 victory over China at the World Baseball Classic. * Reuters