Fortunes of Golf Dont Shine on Bjorn Elkington

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Anyone who has ever played the game knows something about the fortunes of golf.
 
The putt that had nowhere to go, yet somehow stays out.
 
The shot that lands in a divot.

It's a game that can be cruel. Often, it is at its cruelest at just the wrong moment.
 
Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington knew that long before they came out Monday morning with a chance of winning the storm-delayed PGA Championship. They knew it when they teed off on the 18th hole tied for the lead.
 
Sometimes, the golf gods are going to get you. And there's nothing you can do but wait for your next chance.
 
``You stick your nose in often enough, this game is going to give you one one day,'' Bjorn said.
 
Monday wasn't that day for Elkington, and it certainly wasn't for Bjorn. Both sat helplessly in the scoring trailer watching Phil Mickelson do what they couldn't -- birdie the 18th hole to win.
 
A few moments earlier, each had his chance to do the same thing. Both were betrayed by a golf course that wouldn't let them in.
 
Elkington's second shot ended up in a divot 96 yards from the hole, and it was all he could do to get it somewhat close. Bjorn wasn't as close, but the putt he thought was in all the way lipped out agonizingly at the end.
 
``I felt good over it and when it was about a foot from the hole I felt even better about it,'' Bjorn said. ``You can only say that it wasn't to be.''
 
Both Bjorn and Elkington were philosophical about their missed chances.
 
They had to be. Their only other choice was to let the quirks of the game beat them down.
 
Elkington had tossed and turned most of the night thinking about the lead he had on Sunday and how he let it get away. He thought about what he would do when he came out for his final few holes Monday and what he had to do to win his second major.
 
It had been 10 years since Elkington won the PGA at Riviera Country Club, but he came back for his final holes thinking he could do it again. He was only a shot behind Mickelson as play resumed with three holes to play.
 
Sure, what was left of the crowd from the day before was roaring for Phil. But crowds don't win golf tournaments; good shots and good breaks do.
 
Elkington got one of those breaks on the 18th hole when his drive hit a tree and bounced out, leaving him with a shot toward the green on the par 5.
 
Just like that, though, the course turned on him when his second shot rolled into a sand-filled divot.
 
Elkington thought back to when he won the Players Championship in 1991 and the same thing happened. Armed with the positive vibes, he hit his shot to 10 feet.
 
The putt was inside left. He hit it where he wanted and watched as the ball and his chance slid by the hole.
 
``It looked good from my angle,'' Elkington said.
 
Bjorn's looked even better. His actually hit the cup and lipped out.
 
``It was going nowhere else but in the hole. Somehow it stayed out,'' Bjorn said. ``There's not much more to it than that.''
 
Bjorn had come close before, losing the 2003 British Open when he couldn't get out of a bunker and made a double bogey on the 16th hole. This time he nearly birdied the last two holes, so he had something positive to think about in the eight long months before the next major championship in Augusta, Ga.
 
``I'll just keep going. 2006 is not too far away, and I'll look forward to those majors,'' the Dane said. ``One day, these major championships are going to break my way.''
 
One already broke Elkington's way, but it's been a long time since anything else has. He's battled injuries and sinus problems just to get back to this point and knows how hard it is to win one major, much less another.
 
``Tiger collects them like they're nothing,'' he said. ``For the rest of us, it's not that easy.''
 
Someone suggested to Elkington that even though he didn't win the Wanamaker Trophy, it was still something of a moral victory to be able to contend after all his problems.
 
He wasn't buying it.
 
Not on this day. Not on any day.
 
``There's no moral victory for coming in second in this major,'' he said. ``If anyone who can tell me who was runner-up in any major, I'll give you a hundred dollars. No one remembers you but family and friends.''
 
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.