Y.E. Yang’s swing is the thing for Brian Mogg
August 21, 2009
By Scott Hanson
Seattle Times staff
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Brian Mogg can’t keep up with the phone and text messages. He figures he has 700 to 800 since Sunday.
“I can’t even fathom the amount that Y.E. is getting,” Mogg said.
That is Y.E. as in Y.E. Yang, the 37-year-old South Korean who became an overnight sensation when he overtook Tiger Woods in the final round in the PGA Championship. The major title capped what has been a remarkable year for Yang, all helped by Mogg.
Mogg, a 1979 graduate of Lakes High School in Lakewood, near Tacoma, is Yang’s swing coach and began working with Yang in June 2008.
“The big thing we needed to work with him on was his grip,” said Mogg, a former PGA Tour player who runs the Brian Mogg Performance Center in Windermere, Fla.
Yang’s right-hand grip was too strong and it was hurting the takeaway on his swing.
Mogg looks back to February at Pebble Beach as the time when the changes seemed to click for Yang.
“We were the last ones on the range, it was about 40 degrees, but that is when it just seemed to happen for him,” Mogg said.
A couple of weeks later, Mogg practiced with Yang before the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Fla.
“It was his first time playing the course and I was showing him where he needed to hit it each hole,” Mogg said. “And he was doing everything flawlessly. And I thought, ‘He’s going to win in the next few weeks.’ ”
Mogg wasn’t thinking it would be that week, but it was. Yang beat John Rollins by a shot for his first PGA Tour victory. Still, few thought Yang had any chance Sunday when he began the day two shots behind Woods.
“I knew he would play really well,” said Mogg, who told reporters before the event that Yang was playing well enough to win. “I have never seen anyone who can keep the pressure off himself like he can. For him, it’s just a game. It’s not a life-or-death thing.”
Mogg’s recent work also paid off on a much smaller stage. While visiting his brother in Sammamish in July, he worked some with his 13-year-old nephew, also named Brian.
On Tuesday, the younger Brian won a Pacific Northwest Junior event in Olympia, and he finished third in late July in the state junior championship.
“I don’t want to take credit, because [his father] Gary has done a great job with him, but I worked with him on setting his wrist,” said the elder Brian Mogg.
Yang’s win certainly will boost Mogg’s business, and he will have a decision to face in a couple of years, when he will be eligible for the Champions Tour.
“In my heart, I would really like to [play],” he said. “But there are practical issues too, like the business, that I have to think about.”