The PGA Championship remains very much up in the air. (Squire/Getty Images)
Question of the day: Could this be the one Tiger finally loses?
Tiger Woods is a remarkable 14-0 in major championships in which he has either led or had a share of the lead after 54 holes. In other words, says AP Sports Columnist Tim Dalhberg, he's ripe to be beaten.
By Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist
CHASKA, Minn. (AP) -- A gaggle of pretenders had come and gone by the time Tiger Woods stood on the 18th green muttering at yet another putt that had somehow escaped the hole. A tournament that seemed wide open only a few holes before remained firmly in his grasp, and his biggest concern was getting home to get something to eat.
Y.E. Yang had more pressing issues. He had to figure out how to get some sleep with thoughts of playing with Woods in the final group on the final day of the PGA Championship racing through his head.
"I've thought about playing with Tiger recently," Yang said. "Surprised it became true so fast."
Golf can be full of surprises. That's part of what makes the sport so intriguing at times to watch and so frustrating most of the time to play.
Surprise, though, wouldn't be the word that comes to mind if Yang manages to do what no one has ever done -- come from behind on a Sunday to beat Woods in a major championship. Shock wouldn't even properly describe it.
The great one is, after all, also the greatest front-runner golf has ever seen. So maybe it was wise of Yang not to get his hopes too terribly high.
"It will be my first time playing with him, so I'll try not to go over par," the South Korean said, smiling as his words were interpreted.
A modest goal, sure. Realistic, too, even after Woods' four-shot second round lead was cut in half.
Yang, tied for second with defending champion Padraig Harrington, doesn't need a translator to figure this one out. Woods is a remarkable 36-1 with a lead going into the final round with the lead in a tournament, and 14-0 in major championships in which he has either led or had a share of the lead after 54 holes.
In other words, he's ripe to be beaten.
Give it some thought before you start laughing. Yes, Woods has pretty much had his way around Hazeltine National all week long and, while his 1-under 71 was nothing special on a day when the course was playing relatively easy, he was playing conservatively.
Add in the fact Yang will see things he has never seen in golf when he plays in the circus that is a final round pairing with Woods and that the guy tied with him was blitzed by Woods in the final round last week and the thing looks like a slam dunk.
But stranger things have happened. And, let's face it, it has to happen sometime.
Streaks don't go on forever. Even Joe DiMaggio had his halted at 56 games.
So why not Sunday? If not Yang, why not Harrington, who has a pretty good resume in major championships of his own?
Why not, indeed.
"Obviously to get a win you've got to beat him by three tomorrow; that's a tall order," Harrington said. "Everybody in the situation who is behind is going to think, well, you know, we have nothing to lose. I need to have that attitude tomorrow. I've got to stand there on every shot and think to myself, well, so what if I hit a bad shot."
Remember that those are words spoken from a guy who gave up a three-shot lead to Woods in the final round last week and struggled against him in the second round here. But maybe it takes a thrashing or two to get the idea that perhaps this isn't such an impossible task after all.
Hazeltine may be playing rather benignly, but it's a big course and it still invites mistakes. A missed putt here and an errant drive there, and even Henrik Stenson and Lucas Glover -- who are four shots back -- could be in the game.
It's not like Woods is somehow genetically immune to the pressure. He tends to handle it better than anyone else but, as every player who has a shot at him after the third round always reminds us, he is still human.
It's not too unimaginable that one day he'll show it.
"We are all nervous out there," Woods said. "I'm in the same boat as everyone else, but you've got to go out there and execute shots and that's the fun, and that's the rush and that's the thrill of it."
Odds are Woods will be the one supplying the thrills in this PGA Championship. After leading all three rounds, it would be a shock if he didn't close it out for his 15th major title.
But don't go engraving his name on the trophy just yet.