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Yang over Woods just one candidate for the greatest individual upset of all time

It happened only Sunday, so it's difficult to put into perspective so soon. But when you delve into the details, you could make an argument that Y.E. Yang staring down Tiger Woods and winning the PGA Championship is among the greatest individual upsets in sports history. A look at our choices for the top individual sports upsets:

Y.E. Yang beats Tiger Woods

Yang was ranked 110th in the world. His best finish at a major had been a tie for 30th, and that was the only time in four previous majors he even made the cut. Meanwhile, Tiger was 14-0 when leading after three rounds in a major and had won 36 of 37 tournaments overall when he took a lead into the final round. But Yang played the final 49 holes in 13-under par, and not only did he overcome a two-shot deficit to Woods heading into Sunday, he ended up winning by three shots.

Jack Fleck beats Ben Hogan

Before Sunday, the 1955 U.S. Open probably held the distinction of the biggest upset in golf history. Fleck was just a driving range pro when he decided to try to qualify for the PGA Tour. Six months after he made the tour, he found himself in an 18-hole playoff with the legendary Hogan. Fleck played the round of his life, shooting 69 at the Olympia Club in San Francisco — three shots better than Hogan. Fleck would go on to win just two smaller tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Rulon Gardner beats Alexander Karelin

Karelin was a one-man dynasty in Greco-Roman wrestling. Going into the 2000 Olympics, Karelin had not lost a match in 13 years and had not given up a point in six years. But Gardner, the youngest of nine children from a farm in Wyoming, upset the Siberian Bear 1-0 to win the gold medal. Because of the sport, this upset often gets overlooked. But considering the circumstances, it ranks right alongside the 1980 U.S. hockey team's Miracle on Ice as, arguably, the greatest upset in all of sports.

Buster Douglas beats Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson was one of the most feared men in boxing history and seemingly invincible when he took on Douglas in February 1990 in what was supposed to be a tuneup fight before he took on Evander Holyfield. Tyson was 37-0 with 33 knockouts. Douglas, who lost his mother to a stroke only 23 days before the fight, was 29-4-1 and a 42-to-1 underdog. But Douglas knocked out Tyson in the eighth round in what is regarded as the greatest upset in boxing history.

Upset beats Man o' War

Ever wonder why an underdog winning is called an "upset?" Many claim it was because of this horse race in 1919. Man o' War, one of the greatest thoroughbreds in history, won 20 of 21 races, once winning a race by an incredible 100 lengths and another by beating Triple Crown winner Sir Barton in a match race by 7 lengths. His lone loss came Aug. 13, 1919, when Upset, which had lost six times to Man o' War, held off the great horse to win by less than a length.

James J. Braddock beats Max Baer

When the two men fought in 1935 at Madison Square Garden, Baer was the heavyweight champ and Braddock was considered a journeyman. Baer, a 10-1 favorite, later said he thought of Braddock as a "chump." But in one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, Braddock stole the championship belt with a unanimous decision. So big was his victory that the great writer Damon Runyon called Braddock "The Cinderella Man," which also happened to be the name of the movie made 70 years after his shocking upset.

Robin Soderling beats Rafael Nadal

It's true that Nadal was fighting through a knee injury that eventually sidelined him for several months after the match. Still, Nadal had never lost a match at the French Open. He had won four straight titles and was 31-0 at Roland Garros. And he was playing a guy he personally disliked in Soderling, who was seeded 23rd and had never been past the third round in any Grand Slam tournament. But Soderling pulled off the upset in the fourth round, eliminating Nadal 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.

Yang over Woods just one candidate for the greatest individual upset of all time 08/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 17, 2009 9:04pm]
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