The Loop

Yang: An Asian No. 1? Not for awhile

September 02, 2009

Is PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang understating the quality of golf in Asian when he suggests that it might be 20 years before an Asian player would challenge for No. 1 in the World Ranking?

"There's still a long time before a male Asian player will top the golf world," he told the Straits Times. "We're probably two decades away from the time that Asian players will have as much of a foothold as their female counterparts have."

A decade seems more likely. It is unlikely that Tiger Woods, 33, will loosen his vice grip on No. 1 anytime soon. Indeed, barring injury, his reign will probably continue for the better part of the next 10 years.

Asian stardom doesn't appear to be a generation or more away. The last two U.S. Amateur champions, for instance, are both Korean born -- Byeong-hun An, 17, is the most recent Amateur champion, succeeding Danny Lee.

Then there is Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, only 17 and already ranked 62nd in the world, while Lee, only 19, is ranked 116th.

-- John Strege