Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on August 17, 2009
South Korean golfer Y.E. Yang’s surprise win in Sunday’s U.S. PGA Championship will certainly boost the sport’s standing in his country. After all Yang became the first Asia-born man to win a major in the golfing history and he broke the legend of Tiger Woods who had never allowed his opponent to overcome his third-round lead at a major until he met the Korean.
Yang himself predicted a spike in interest in the sport just like his fellow female golfer Pak Se-ri sparked a huge boom in Korea in 1998 when she won the McDonalds’s LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open as a rookie. Already, Korean President Lee Myung Bak lavished praise over Yang, telephoning him to offer congratulations shortly after he won the tournament. The International Olympic Committee’s plan to introduce golf at the 2016 Olympics will also help attract more attention to the sport, given that Korea already has many of the best women golfers in the world.
But Yang is not expected to create lots of buzz among marketers, at least for the time being. Unlike Korean swimmer Park Tae Hwan who became an immediate target for companies seeking endorsement deals after he won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Yang needs to build up a record of wins before he could win big-money ad deals, sports marketing specialists point out. While teenager Park is bound to win media spotlights for many tournaments in the future, Yang, 37, had made only two cuts in seven previous starts at majors. Yang has yet to prove the cold world of marketers that he scored one the golfing history’s greatest upsets not simply because Woods had a bad day on the greens.