The search for a male South Korean major champion

( CNN) As South Korea’s Y. E. Yang strode across the 18 th fairway at Hazeltine National on a sunny August afternoon eight years ago, a television commentator said what everyone was thinking.

Yang had done the hard work, matching and eventually get the better of 14-time major win Tiger Woods; all the world No. 110 had to do now was hole out, and the 2009 PGA Championship trophy would be his.

The 37 -year-old attained no mistake, birdying the decisive final pit to become Asia’s first ever major champion.

But though his victory did indeed herald a new era in golf, it was not in the way anyone expected. Until that day Woods had never relinquished a lead after 54 holes; since, he has never won another major.

Meanwhile the predicted succession of South Korean major champions on the PGA Tour never came.

While 15 of the past 29 majors on the LPGA tour have been won by South Korean girls, Yang is still the only South Korean male to win a major since records began.

Military obligation

The search for an heir to Yang’s throne goes on.

Few have come closer than KJ Choi, a former powerlifter today recognized as Asia’s most successful male golfer ever.

The 47 -year-old, nicknamed the “Tank, ” has eight PGA Tour titles to his name, including the 2011 Players Championship, golf’s unofficial “fifth major.”

But, while he will always be remembered as the first South Korean to win on the PGA Tour — having triumphed at the Compaq Classic of New Orleans in 2002 — he was never able to capture one of golf’s big four.

For Choi, an amendment to his country’s mandatory military service may be required for South Korean humen to mount a more consistent challenge in majors.

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