Major Toms Captures PGA Championship

By Mercer BaggsAugust 19, 2001, 4:00 pm
This time David did defeat Goliath.
 
David Toms took a gamble on the final hole and it paid. After laying up on the longest par-4 in major history, Toms made a 12-foot par putt to once again deny Phil Mickelson his maiden major championship title.
 
Toms shot a final-round 1-under-par 69 at the Atlanta Athletic Club to win the 83rd PGA Championship in Duluth, Ga., by one shot over Mickelson.
 
In addition to the $936,000 first-place check, the victory also gives the 34-year-old Louisianan a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
 
'This is unbelievable,' said Toms after his sixth career PGA Tour win. 'I really wanted to make the team, but I wanted to earn my way on.'
 
More from Toms on his first major win.
 
Toms' victory knocked Tom Lehman out of the top-10 on the points list. Curtis Strange will announce his captain's picks Monday morning.
 
Toms finished the tournament at 15-under-par 265. The aggregate score broke, by two strokes, the record first set at Royal St. George by Greg Norman in the 1993 British Open and later matched by Steve Elkington, who beat Colin Montgomerie in a playoff in the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera.
 
Mickelson was one shot higher at 14-under.
 
Its certainly disappointing, and its going to make for a difficult off-season, a disappointed Mickelson said.
 
This was the seventh time Mickelson entered the final round of a major within two shots of the lead, and the seventh time he has failed to produce victory.
 
It took all 72 holes to determine the champion. Leading by one on the 490-yard, par-4 18th, Toms hit his tee shot into the right rough.
 
Rather than taking a chance of hitting his approach shot into the water guarding the flagstick, Toms chose to lay up some 100 yards from the hole.
 
It was a decision that would have been questioned forever - had it not worked.
 
Toms then spun his third shot within 15 feet.
 
I really didnt want to have to do that, but I was in the rough two inches and felt like that was my best way to make par, Toms said.
 
Said Mickelson: 'I actually was hoping he would go for it. Off of that lie, I didn't see any way of the ball staying on the green.'
 
Mickelson laced his tee shot on the final hole down the center of the fairway, and played his second 25 feet right of the hole.
 
With a chance to tie Toms for the lead, Mickelson had the proper line, but left his putt inches short. He tapped in for par, and then watched as Toms confidently sank his winning putt.
 
The scene was similar to that of 1999, when Payne Stewart was forced to lay up on the final hole of the U.S. Open.
 
Stewart saved par from 15 feet, while Mickelson missed his birdie putt to tie.
 
Once again, fate had toyed with Mickelson's emotions.
 
'It just seemed like (Toms' putt) was destined to go in,' said Mickelson, who is know 0-for-34 in the major since turning pro a decade ago. 'I don't know what to say other than it's certainly disappointing.'
 

 
Steve Lowery (68) finished in third place at 12-under. Shingo Katayama (70) and Mark Calcavecchia (65) tied for fourth. The finish guarantees Katayama a spot in next years Masters Tournament.
 
This years Masters champion, Tiger Woods, concluded a disappointing title defense with a 70. He tied for 29th place.
 
It was a year ago that Woods defeated a figurative David in the form of Bob May to capture his second consecutive PGA Championship.
 
With his finish this year, Woods has now failed to earn a top-10 in a major since winning his fourth straight major championship at the Masters.
 
If you want to play this game for a long period of time, and I may be playing this game as long as Arnold (Palmer) has been playing ' into my 60s and 70s competitively ' I dont think you can beat yourself up over every single shot and over every single round in every single tournament.
 
Sunday turned out to be a very frustrating day for a pair of past major champions. Playing side-by-side, David Duval and Davis Love III shot 74 and 77, respectively.
 
Duval, fresh off his victory in the British Open, started the day five off the lead, but bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 and doubled the par-5 12th to tie for 10th.
 
Love, who started the day seven back, tripled the 12th and finished tied for 37th.
 
Toms started the final round leading Mickelson by two and was forced to make a 10-foot par save at the 1st to maintain the advantage.
 
Mickelson cut his deficit to one by birdieing the par-4 2nd, and then pulled even by making another birdie at the 5th.
 
The left-hander appeared to be ready to take the lead at the par-3 7th, but caught a bad break. A near-perfect tee shot hit the flagstick and kicked off of the putting surface. He eventually two-putted for par.
 
Speaking of par, thats all Toms scribbled on his scorecard over his first eight holes. That finally changed at the par-4 9th, where Toms stuffed his approach shot to within two feet of the hole.
 
On the other hand, Mickelson pulled his tee shot at the 9th into the right rough. His second shot came up woefully short of the green and he carded his first bogey of the day.
 
The two-shot swing gave Toms a two-shot lead at 15-under-par.
 

 
Toms, however, gave one of those shots back on the very next hole, when he pushed a three-foot par putt.
 
Meanwhile, Katayama joined the fray when his second shot on the par-5 12th hit the brick barrier separating the green and the water. His ball stayed dry, caroming over the green and into the gallery.
 
Katayama nearly chipped in for eagle, but settled for a tap-in birdie and pulled to within one shot of the lead at 13-under.
 
The tours newest fan favorite then kissed his hand and patted it on the brick surrounding.
 
The incident was just another showing of the Kats nine lives. Saturday, he twice hit the bricks on Nos. 17 and 18; both times he saved par.
 
Unfortunately for Katayama, he bogeyed the 14th and 15th to fall from contention. In fact, the water finally got him on the 72nd hole, when his approach shot found the hazard.
 
As it was, the tournament was deceided by the final pairing.
 
For the second time in the final round, Mickelson managed to tie Toms at the top by birdieing the 12th.
 
Both men cleared the water and found the back of the green. But after each lagged to about four feet. Toms missed his birdie effort, while Mickelson made his.
 
Once again, the final twosome was tied for the lead at 14-under; however, it didnt last for long.
 
Toms hits his approach shot on the par-4 13th to eight feet. This time he converted the birdie putt to regain a one-shot lead at 15-under.
 
He then coaxed in a lightning-quick 20-footer for birdie at the 14th, as Mickelson again struggled to make par.
 
Toms took a two-shot lead at 16-under into the par-3 15th. Saturday, he struck a 5-wood from 243 yards and found the bottom of the cup in a single shot. Sunday, however, he played overly cautious and placed his tee shot into the left-hand bunker ' well away from the water, but also well away from the hole.
 
Toms bunker blast finished some 18 feet from the flag, where he two-putted for bogey.
 
This day, the 15th belonged to Mickelson. Despite missing the green long, the short-game wizard chipped in for birdie.
 
Another two-shot swing. This time favoring Mickelson.
 
It marked the third time on the day that Mickelson had overcome a two-shot deficit.
 
But just as he had done on the previous two occasions, Mickelson let his share of the lead slip away. After overhearing a few fans say how slow his putt would be, Mickelson raced his lengthy birdie effort at the par-4 16th six feet past the hole and didnt make the comebacker for par.
 
Toms was 1-up at 15-under with two to play.
 
Both men two-putted for par at the 17th, leaving the 18th to determine the ultimate outcome.
 
Full-field scores from the 83rd PGA Championship
Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.