In the frenzy of arm-chair quarterbacking that has followed Sunday’s eventful final turn at the 93rd PGA Championship, there is one decision that has not been micro-analyzed.
With a two-stroke lead over Jason Dufner in the three-hole aggregate playoff, Keegan Bradley pulled the same club, a hybrid, to tee off on the demanding 18th hole, bringing the water hazard on the left (about 240 yards from the tee) and the bunkers down the right into play.
Asked afterwards if there were some debate about what club to hit considering his situation, Bradley’s caddie Steven “Pepsi” Hale smiled widely, “Yes, but it’s not what you’re thinking.”
There was some talk about playing the last playoff frame as a three-shot hole, like David Toms did when he won at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001. Bradley could play iron, iron, wedge shot and take his chances to scramble for par, but it was an option that may have forced a sudden-death playoff had Bradley not converted the par effort after Dufner made birdie at the 18th hole.
“We could have hit driver over everything and into the other fairway (on another golf course adjacent the Highlands layout),” said Hale, pointing to a drawing he’d made in his yardage book of the adjacent fairway that listed yardages to the Highland’s 18th green that ranged from 192 to 200 yards.
Bradley opted to hit the same hybrid and made a routine par, but he did have a ‘Plan B.’