Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Look Back at Just How Batshit Crazy Last Year's Final Round Was at the PGA Championship

A lot of people think back a year ago at Whistling Straits and think of one thing; BunkerGate. But let us not forget that this was one of the craziest finishes in major championship history! The whole day was strange, concluding with BunkerGate plus a strange playoff. So, without further ado, here is a recap of just what happened at the 2010 PGA Championship on Sunday.

-- Before the final round began, it wasn't Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson who looked like the young American ready to breakout and win his first major. That honor was held by Nick Watney, who held a three-shot lead heading into Sunday. Watney had bettered himself everyday, shooting 69-68-66 to get to 13-under, and looked ready to cruise to victory. The only problem is, golf is 72 holes, and Watney's last 18 added up to 81, dropping him 17 spots to a tie for 18th. The craziest part? Watney ended birdie-birdie-par (par on 18 was like a birdie on Sunday) to shoot 81.

-- 47-year-old Steve Elkington, who has always seemed to play the PGA Championship well, tied for the lead after a birdie on the 16th, but made bogeys on 17 and 18 to miss the playoff by two shots, which would have been great given the history between Elkington and Watson.

-- Rory McIlroy was three shots back to start the day, but never really got anything going, and was even par heading into the 18th, needing a birdie on the tough par-4 to post 11-under. His second shot landed 15-feet away, but much like the rest of his day, he couldn't cash it in, missing out on the playoff by a shot.

-- Obviously we know what happened to Dustin Johnson on 18, but the dude birdied 13, 16 and 17 to get himself to 12-under and with a chance to win with a par on the final hole. As you know, he drove his ball right, grounded his club in some sand/bunker stuff, yanked his then-second shot left, hit one of the most ridiculous flop shots in major championship history to about 10-feet, and then couldn't roll that in for what he thought was a par at the time. I remember I had already typed "And Dustin Johnson wins his first major!" on Twitter and was waiting to hit send before his putt missed. Then, as you know, he was approached on the 18th by a rules official, told he was getting penalized for grounding his club, and all hell broke loose. His bogey was made a triple-bogey, and Johnson finished two shots out of the playoff for the two-stroke penalty.

-- Because of Dustin's misfortune, Bubba and Martin Kaymer made the three-hole playoff, and it was a good one before it was a bad one. Bubba made birdie on the first playoff hole, Kaymer made birdie on the second, and then came the 18th again, where it appears golf swings come to die.

Watson had what looked like a relatively easy second shot into the 18th, hit it, and then watched as it came up nearly 30 yards short of the green, leaving Bubba as shocked as the rest of us (I joked that it almost looked like he tried to pull out a 6-iron but accidentally grabbed the 9, something us hackers have all done before). Watson was in the trash, and ended up making a double-bogey, which was bested by Kaymer by a shot. I remember thinking the only way that playoff should have ended was with someone making a double-bogey to win it.

Eventually Kaymer was the champion of a very strange tournament, with an even stranger ending.


foryourbenefit said...

The Master's had 8 players share the lead in the final round, but people forget that 7 players held the lead at one point on the final day. Watney, Day, McIlroy, Elkington, Watson, Kaymer and Dustin Johnson all were leaders at one point with Zach Johnson seemingly being one shot back the entire day. Can't remember a better stretch of back to back majors than those two.

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