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The struggles of YE Yang

October 17, 2014

South Korea's Y.E. Yang fears he will never regain the form that saw him crowned Asia's first major champion, as his miserable season continued in Hong Kong Friday.

Five years after sensationally coming from behind to pip Tiger Woods to the US PGA Championship, Yang's game is in the doldrums -- ranked 646th in the world and having to rely on tournament invites.

The 42-year-old, once ranked as high as 19th in the official standings, missed the cut in Hong Kong on six-over par after rounds of 76 and 70 in the southern Chinese city.

"I feel disappointed. It's been a difficult year," he said.

"While practising I feel comfortable but on the course I'm playing bad. Maybe it's a psychological thing," added Yang at the $1.3 million co-sanctioned European/Asian Tour event.

The Korean played 28 times on the US PGA Tour this season, missing the cut on 15 occasions and making the weekend in only 12. He came in the top 25 just once and failed to register a top-10 finish.

Yang's 2009 victory at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota marked the only time Woods has failed to win a major after leading with just one round to play.

It also brought Asia its first male major winner, but five years on Yang is still the only player from the continent to have achieved the feat.

Following his PGA success Yang enjoyed a decent 2010, winning the European Tour's Volvo China Open and by the end of 2011 he was still ranked in the world's top 50.

But over the past three years he has plummeted, to 105 at the end of 2012, to 320 the following season and then to his current position of 646th.

Winning the PGA Championship came with a five-year exemption to play on the top American circuit.

Yang needed a big 2014 to extend his stay on the tour but it wasn't to be, with the Korean now banking on invitations to PGA Tour events.

He said he would now try his luck more in Europe and Asia.

"I think next year I will maybe try the European Tour and the PGA a little bit, but just invites," Yang told AFP.

Asked whether he could ever recapture the form that saw him overturn a two-shot deficit against Woods to beat him by three strokes, Yang paused for a few seconds and said: "I just try."

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