Unknown Wiesberger in contention for first major


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Until Saturday, Bernd Wiesberger was known mostly as a dude whose name is either popular to mispronounce or easy to use as a joke.

You know, Burnt Cheesburger, as Aussie pro Aron Price tweeted out on Saturday. Or “Wiesberger in Paradise” as a stretch for a popular Jimmy Buffett song. Heard this one too: “I went to my local hangout this past weekend and ordered the Wiesberger, told them to hold the onions.”

You get the point.

Well, Wiesberger is in position to have the last laugh.

The 28-year-old Austrian shot 65 on Saturday and is one shot behind Rory McIlroy heading into the final round of the PGA Championship. He will be paired with the world No. 1 as McIlroy looks to win his second consecutive major.

It’ll be an uneasy position to say the least. Wiesberger (pronounced Behr'-nt Vees-burger) has only played in five major championships before this week, and he’s only made one cut, a 64th-place tie last year at the British Open.

“I didn’t expect any of this really coming into this week,” Wiesberger said. “I knew I was prepared well and the course really suits my eye. So far I’m taking advantage of this and it’s great to finish the round with three birdies in a row and basically tap-in birdies as well.”

In this case, tap-in is an understatement. The combined distance of Wiesberger’s birdie putts on the final three holes was 3 feet, 6 inches. The longest putt he had was from just outside 2 feet on the par-4 16th hole. The last two were mere inches from the hole.

Wiesberger is ranked 70th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His best finishes this year are a second-place tie at the Malaysian Open and a second-place finish at the Lyoness Open on the European Tour. He won twice on the European Tour in 2012 and won the Asian Tour’s Indonesian Masters last year.

This truly is David vs. Goliath.

“You know, I have it in me,” he said. “I know I can perform on the big stage. I have been a bit disappointed with the way I’ve played maybe this year at the U.S. Open, at the British where I thought my game was in a good spot but I couldn’t pull it off.

“It is obviously hard to play those events, but you shouldn’t forget to have fun. Really had fun out there this weekend.”

When Wiesberger’s final-round interview was over, he was asked to share the best joke he’s heard regarding his name.

“I’m not going to say those because then I’ll have them all the time tomorrow,” he said.

Veteran decision, from a guy in an unfamiliar position.