Numbing defeat: Dufner shows little emotion during, after loss

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2011, 1:15 am

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Jason Dufner never showed much emotion at the PGA Championship. Not when he had the Wanamaker Trophy in the bag. Not when he threw it all away.

As the sun set on Atlanta Athletic Club, he just seemed numb.

Dufner wound up on the wrong end of one of the greatest comebacks in major championship history Sunday.Keegan Bradley overcame a five-shot deficit with three holes left in regulation, then beat Dufner in a three-hole playoff.

“I’m so new at this situation, I don’t know if I appreciate it as much as I will,” Dufner said, quickly adding, “soon.”

The 34-year-old Dufner had not made a cut since late May and he’d never won on the PGA Tour – yet, here he was, on cusp of winning one of the biggest events of all. He was playing textbook golf for the tough setup, keeping his ball in the fairway better than anyone and rolling the ball with poise and confidence on the greens.

He strolled the grounds like he owned the place, occasionally cracking a bit of a smile but mostly just staring straight ahead, as if this was his destiny.

Dufner went to the 15th tee four strokes ahead of the field and five up on Bradley, who had just made triple bogey at the par-3 hole after knocking his second shot in the water.

But three straight bogeys by Dufner and two straight birdies by Bradley forced a playoff. Dufner might have erased all the bad karma with his second shot of the playoff, a laser from the fairway that nearly went in for eagle. The ball slid about an inch wide of the cup, and he threw up his arms in his most bombastic gesture all week.

Then, he missed a 6-footer for birdie.

When Bradley made his birdie try, Dufner was out of the lead for the first time all day.

Turns out, he was done. Dufner three-putted the 17th for a bogey, leaving him two shots behind. Not even a brilliant birdie at the brutal 18th hole was enough; Bradley barely cleared the water with his approach, two-putted for par and celebrated a one-stroke win.

Now, Dufner can take his place with all the guys who’ve endured heartbreak at the majors, from Scott Hoch to Jean Van de Velde.

“Maybe looking back in 10 or 15 years, I’ll be disappointed if I never get another chance,” Dufner said. “But I have a feeling I’ll have more chances in a major to close one out.”

The last four holes at Atlanta comprise one of the toughest finishing stretches in major championship history, but Dufner had breezed right through those the first three days – a cumulative 3 under, not one bogey on his card.

But Bradley knew the situation could change.

It sure did, in a hurry.

“Those last four holes are so tough,” the winner said. “Someone could have a five-shot lead and it doesn’t matter.”

At the 15th, Dufner tried to get cute with a 5-wood and pushed his tee shot into the water. The crowd groaned, sensing a collapse, but he pulled himself together, took a drop, knocked it to 15 feet and made a bogey putt that felt like a birdie.

No problem. He was still in control.

But up ahead at 16, Bradley hit his best drive of the week to set up a birdie. Dufner, coming along in the final group, dumped his approach in a bunker – “the one I want back more than anything” – blasted out to 10 feet and missed the putt. Another bogey. Just like that, he was only two strokes ahead of Bradley.

Dufner stepped up to the 17th tee, looking down over the water at the picturesque, par-3 hole. He had the best – or maybe we should say the worst – view of all when Bradley rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt, raised his club with one hand, pumping his fist with the other and running around like this was his tournament now.

Dufner just stared straight ahead, his once commanding lead down to one measly shot. He cleared the pond off the tee, then made an ugly three-putt bogey, just as he would do in the playoff a short time later.

Both times, he ran his first putt well past the hole – 10 feet in regulation, 15 feet with the next one – and missed the return try.

“He had a tricky putt on 17,” Bradley said, referring to the playoff attempt. “I feel for the guy, honestly. He played well enough to win.”

Going to No. 18 for the second time, only this time trailing by two strokes, Dufner split the fairway with his driver, knocked his second shot over the water that collected so many balls during the week, and rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt.

It didn’t matter.

From 18 feet, Bradley cozied his putt right next to the hole and tapped in for the victory.

The Wanamaker Trophy was his.

All Dufner got was heartache.

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.