PGA Championships brings depth of field but lack of star power in final round
August 20, 2010
The PGA Championships began with 98 of the world’s top 100-ranked players on the PGA Tour. But they ended with low-name players and controversy dominating the final round of play Sunday, August 15th.
When the dust settled, the spoils went to Germany’s Martin Kaymer, an unheralded 26-year-old who became only the second German to win a major (after Bernard Langer) by winning a playoff against American Bubba Watson at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
The sympathy, however, went to Dustin Johnson, who missed the playoff because of a two-stroke penalty assigned him on the 18th and final hole.
Kaymer’s previous career highlight was a 59 which he shot on his first year on the European Challenge Tour in 2006, the year before he became rookie-of-the-year on the European Tour in 2007. He won two events in 2008 (Abu Dhabi and the BMW International Open) and another two in 2009 (French Open and Scottish Open) before his breakthrough this year at the PGA Championship.
The controversial penalty was assigned when Johnson’s tee shot landed in the fan gallery on the right side of the fairway on the 18th. It dropped in a small patch of sand well outside of where fans or media expected to find bunkers, especially since the area had been walked on for four days at Whistling Straits. Squeezing in among hundreds of fans lining his shot, Johnson was unaware he was in an official bunker and grounded his club before hitting his shot.
"Walking up and seeing the shot, never once did it cross my mind it was in a sand trap," Johnson said. "I just thought it was on a piece of dirt the crowd had trampled down. Never thought it was a sand trap. I looked at it a lot, never once thought it was a bunker." And neither did millions of fans around the world watching on television. I know I didn't.
PGA Tour rules official David Price informed Johnson of the situation and it led to his unfortunate exit from contention.
The Bleacher Report listed previous incidents in which players had suffered significant penalties in major tournaments, including the 1968 Masters, where Argentina's Robert De Vicenzo had to accept a higher score than he had shot during the final round because that’s what he reported, thereby missing a playoff with Bob Goalby by one stroke.
The 2005 British Open saw David Toms disqualify himself for signing an incorrect scorecard. Others such as Steve Elkington, Greg Norman, Aaron Baddeley, Paula Creamer and Bubba Watson have called penalties on themselves at PGA Tour events.
Sources: TheSportMarket.biz with files from Reuters.com, vancouversun.com and The Bleacher Report.