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Ex-PGA champion Yang Yong-eun eyeing return to US tour

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Published : 2017-05-04 17:57
Updated : 2017-05-04 18:06

Former PGA Championship winner Yang Yong-eun said Thursday he'd like to regain his full-time status on the PGA Tour in the near future.

Yang, who famously held off then-world No. 1 Tiger Woods to capture the 2009 PGA Championship, lost his PGA privileges in 2014.

He has spent the majority of the ensuing seasons in Europe and Asia, while appearing in US events only occasionally.

Yang Yong-eun (right) hands a club to his celebrity caddie, singer Lee Seung-chul, at the second hole during the first round of the GS Caltex Maekyung Open on the KPGA Tour at Nam Seoul Country Club in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. (KPGA Tour)

After the first round at a Korea PGA Tour event in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, Yang said he "would like to return to the US tour."

"Given my age (45), it's hard to perform consistently at a high level on the European Tour with so much traveling," Yang said at GS Caltex Maekyung Open at Nam Seoul Country Club. "I can get into three or four PGA tournaments each year and I'll try to make the most of those opportunities."

By virtue of winning the PGA Championships, one of four majors in men's golf, Yang earned a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

But a string of poor finishes and missed cuts saw Yang fall precipitously in the world rankings in following years. The former world No. 19 is currently in 417th place.

But Yang, who remains the only Asian-born golfer to win a men's major title, said his career is far from over.

"I plan to play for at least 10 more years, and I hope to get to the US senior tour (PGA Tour Champions) after turning 50," he said. "I am also mulling over a return to the Japanese tour."

A player can earn a PGA Tour exemption by winning a regular tournament or a major championship. If he can earn enough FedEx Cup points to rank inside the top 125 at the end of the season, he will earn his tour card for the following year. (Yonhap)