He began to suffer from plantar fasciitis -- a painful ailment in his right foot -- just after the Masters, and there were times he wondered if he could finish the season, much less try to make the Ryder Cup team.
Relief came in July, when Foot-Joy made a special shoe using a mold of his foot, and he marveled at how good he felt when he shot a 67 in the first round of the PGA Championship.
He stood at 5 under through four holes Friday when his luck -- and foot -- turned, leading to bogeys on four of the next six holes and a double bogey on 11 that left him with a 76.
Verplank revealed the reason for his meltdown after his round Saturday: He said he twisted his right foot on one of the thousands of potholes at tortuous Whistling Straits when he was trotting to catch up to his group after a bathroom break at the fifth hole Friday.
'It wasn't like I took a step and fell over. But it's rough. Have you walked around where the spectators are? I guess you can break an ankle there,' Verplank said. 'But all our paths, unless you're on the fairways or on the tee box or the greens, you need hiking boots.'
On Saturday, the foot hurt even worse, he said, and it showed as he carded a 77 that included two bogeys, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey that left him 4 over for the tournament.
'It affects my golf swing, it affects my balance,' said Verplank, who can't put his full weight on his right foot.
He said it wasn't quite a sprained ankle and that he felt pain along the top and outside of his foot.
Verplank is 14th in the Ryder Cup standings, and his foot problems are a serious issue. There are two rounds of matches the first two days at Oakland Hills next month.
'I'll be all right. Maybe not before tomorrow, but I'll be fine,' Verplank insisted as he limped off.
Stuart Appleby missed the memo.
The PGA of America changed its mind this week and announced that all of the more than 1,400 bunkers at Whistling Straits would be played as hazards at the PGA Championship.
That meant players were forbidden to ground their clubs or remove loose impediments -- even if the ball wound up in a fan's footprint.
The golfers got the memo in their lockers on Monday.
Appleby was in contention Saturday thanks to three consecutive birdies that gave him four birdies in five holes when he hit his tee shot into a sand bunker outside the ropes on No. 16.
'I moved a piece of dead grass,' explained Appleby.
Two-stroke penalty, ruled the PGA.
'And grounded my club,' Appleby added, 'because I didn't think it was a bunker' that was in play.
Another two strokes.
That gave him a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5, 569-yard hole known as 'Endless Bite.'
Appleby never conferred with a rules official before his big bunker blunder.
'I didn't think a bunker that 30,000 people had walked in was part of the course,' he complained.
Several fans realized right away what a gaffe it was and promptly notified tournament officials.
'I wasn't trying to get away with it,' Appleby said. 'Easily 100 people could see what I was doing.'
Instead of finishing the day with a 68 to put him at 5 under for the championship, Appleby was left with an even-par 72 and is 1 under overall.
'You talk about saving shots in a round of golf,' Appleby said. 'I basically could have saved four strokes by reading a piece of paper inside the locker room.'
As Joe Ogilvie crested the hill behind the 18th green following his round of 70 Saturday, he was surprised to see Donald Trump, decked out in a gold sweater with a golf cap covering his golden locks, by the grandstand.
'I can be the apprentice!' Ogilvie told the billionaire businessman and star of the NBC's hit show 'The Apprentice.'
'You're hired!' Trump replied, a spin on his famous 'You're Fired!' tag line.
Ogilvie doesn't need a job, however.
The 30-year-old native of Austin, Texas, who joined the PGA Tour five years ago, has earned $873,727 this year and should pick up a nice paycheck on Sunday.
'I've got a pretty good gig,' Ogilvie said. 'So, I can't help him out.'
Ogilvie said he shouldn't have been surprised to see the real-estate tycoon who owns Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., checking out the action at the season's last major.
'He's a movie star,' Ogilvie said. 'He's the man now. He's got to be seen.'
Jerry Kelly's missed cut ended his streak of 27 consecutive cuts made, leaving Scott Verplank (25) second to Tiger Woods' 129 straight. With Kelly, a Madison native, failing to qualify for the weekend, Milwaukee's Skip Kendall found a larger following Saturday, but he shot a disappointing 79 to go 8 over for the tournament. 'I was a little off,' he said. 'Hopefully, I'll be a little on tomorrow.' ... Roy Biancalana, of Huntley, Ill., is one of three club pros who made the cut. He was scheduled to tee off alone at 7:40 a.m. but asked for a marker to play the third round with him. 'I was the last one to putt out (Friday) night and the first one to hit it this morning,' Biancalana said after shooting a 75. 'I should have just slept here. It felt like a quick turnaround.'
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