When Y.E. Yang defeated Tiger Woods in the final round of the PGA Championship on Aug. 16, it marked the first time Woods lost a major championship when leading or sharing the lead at the start of the final round.
Woods isn’t the only worldwide athlete to display that kind of dominance. Like Tiger, six-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has lost only once when leading at the start of the final lap of a full-length race during his 161 starts in the premier class.
Rossi will defend his title in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 28-30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He took the lead on Lap 14 last year and led until officials ended the race after 20 of 28 scheduled laps due to poor weather conditions.
While the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine was Woods’ only slip when leading or tied for the lead entering the final round of a major, Rossi made a mistake while leading on the final lap of the 2002 Africa’s Grand Prix in South Africa and was passed by his then-teammate Tohru Ukawa, who rode away to a victory by .932 of a second over Rossi.
Otherwise, Rossi has been flawless when leading on the final lap of a full-length race during his illustrious career in the premier class, which started in 2000. He has 76 career MotoGP victories.