Kaymer wins PGA in playoff Johnson out on penalty - COPIED

By Doug FergusonAugust 16, 2010, 5:46 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Martin Kaymer won his first major Sunday in a PGA Championship that will be remembered as much for the guy who tied for fifth.

The final stroke of this most bizarre major was Kaymer tapping in from 2 feet to win a three-hole playoff over Bubba Watson.

Equally significant was the 4-iron that Dustin Johnson gently placed in the sand behind his ball on the final hole of regulation at Whistling Straits, unaware that he was in one of more than 1,000 bunkers that litters this lunarlike landscape.

Johnson had a one-shot lead playing the 18th hole when he drove it well right into a tiny patch of sand where the gallery had been walking all week. He grounded his club, thinking it was grass that had been killed under a week’s worth of foot traffic. Fans were packed so tight around him that he never gave it another thought.

“Walking up there, seeing the shot, it never once crossed my mind that I was in a sand trap,” Johnson said. “It’s very unfortunate. The only worse thing that could have happened was if I had made the putt on that last hole.”

He missed the 7-foot par putt to seemingly slip into a three-man playoff with Kaymer and Watson. But the two-shot penalty turned his 71 into a 73, and instead of going to a playoff for redemption from his U.S. Open meltdown, Johnson tied for fifth and headed home.

As Johnson was leaving the course, Kaymer was coming up clutch again.

The 25-year-old German holed a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole in regulation for a 2-under 70 to join Watson (68) at 11-under 277. One shot behind in the playoff, Kaymer made another 15-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 17th, then watched Watson implode.

Watson went from the right rough into the water, then over the green into a bunker. His bunker shot hit the flag, and he tapped in for double bogey. Kaymer chipped out after seeing Watson go in the water, and he hit 7-iron to 15 feet for a two-putt bogey.

“I don’t realize what happened,” Kaymer said. “I just won my first major. I’ve got goose bumps just talking about it.”

Kaymer earned $1.35 million, went to third in the Ryder Cup standings for Europe and moved to a career-best No. 5 in the world.

It was the cruelest ending to a major since Roberto de Vicenzo signed for a higher score in the final round of the 1968 Masters that was won by Bob Goalby.

Watson was only disappointed for a few minutes until learning he had played his way onto the Ryder Cup team.

For Johnson, this might take far longer to recover from the U.S. Open, where he had a three-shot lead going into the final round, took triple bogey on the second hole and shot an 82.

The final major of the year proved to be the most thrilling over the final hour, even with Tiger Woods long gone before all the excitement began. Woods closed with a 73 and tied for 28th.

Six players had a share of the lead at some point Sunday, and six players were separated by one shot over the final 30 minutes.

That included Rory McIlroy, the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland who was trying to become the youngest major champion in 80 years. He had a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to join the clubhouse leaders at 11 under, only for the putt to turn away.

Also one shot behind was former Masters champion Zach Johnson. Both of them needed a birdie on the 500-yard closing hole that only allowed one birdie in the final round.

For all the clutch putts by Kaymer, however, this PGA Championship came down to the bunkers.

The PGA of America posted a notice in the locker room and on the first tee throughout the week, reminding players that all bunkers will be treated like hazards – even though the ropes go right through the middle of some of them, and fans can pitch a lawn chair in them.

Six years ago in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Stuart Appleby was unaware of the rule and assessed a four-shot penalty.

Johnson never disputed that he grounded his club, yet he was no less stunned to realize he was in a bunker. Inside the scoring room, he could be seen erasing the 5 on this scorecard and changing it to a 7.

A PGA rules official approached him before he left the 18th green and said to Johnson and his playing partner, Nick Watney, that it appeared Johnson had grounded his club in a bunker.

“What bunker?” Johnson said he told him. “There’s a lot going on. I’m excited I had a putt to win—or thought I had a putt to win. Walking off … I think I’m going to a playoff, and I’ve got a two-stroke penalty.”

Dressed in street clothes as he spoke to reporters, Johnson had to watch Watson and Kaymer head for the three-hole playoff, the second in as many trips to Whistling Straits.

Watson, who had overpowered the back nine with his booming tee shots, struck first with a massive strike to just short of the par-4 10th green and a pitch to 4 feet for birdie. Kaymer answered with a 15-foot birdie on the 17th, sending them to the 18th hole.

That’s where Watson fell apart, driving into the rough and going after the 18th green from a tough lie. He hit a 6-iron and was posing until it came up woefully short and into the water.

“I made a bad swing. You can’t get mad at a bad swing,” Watson said. “I wouldn’t do anything different. I play to win, not to lay up and finish second.”

Lost in the maddening finish was Watney, who had a three-shot lead going into the final round. He took double bogey on the opening hole, lost the lead for good with a tee shot on No. 7 that bounced off the rocks and into Lake Michigan for a triple bogey and closed with an 81, the highest finish by a 54-hole leader at the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958.

He tied for 18th and cost himself a chance of earning a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Then, he had to endure watching Johnson, with whom he often plays practice rounds, have a chance at his first major taken away by a peculiar local rule.

“I didn’t see anything on the golf course, and when the official came up, I was totally shocked,” Watney said. “I thought he was coming to me about it, the way my day was going.

“Whether that’s fair? I guess they did write it on the sheet,” Watney said. “Man, that’s a tough call, though.”

About all Johnson can take away is how he finished. Three shots behind with six holes to play, he made a spectacular escape from deep rough below the par-5 16th green to 2 feet for birdie, then hit 6-iron to 12 feet for birdie on the 17th.

His tee shot on the 18th sailed to the right and into the gallery. He had no idea how badly that would end up costing him.

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HOFer Stephenson: Robbie wants to play me in movie

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

Margot Robbie has already starred in one sports-related biopic, and if she gets her way a second opportunity might not be far behind.

Robbie earned an Academy Award nomination for her work last year as former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in the movie, I Tonya. She also has a desire to assume the role of her fellow Aussie, Jan Stephenson, in a movie where she would trade in her skates for a set of golf clubs.

That's at least according to Stephenson, who floated out the idea during an interview with Golf Australia's Inside the Ropes podcast shortly after being announced as part of the next class of World Golf Hall of Fame inductees.

"We've talked about doing a movie. Margot Robbie wants to play me," Stephenson said.

There certainly would be a resemblance between the two Australian blondes, as Robbie has become one of Hollywood's leading ladies while Stephenson was on the cutting edge of sex appeal during her playing career. In addition to several magazine covers, Stephenson also racked up 16 LPGA wins between 1976-87 including three majors.

Robbie, 28, has also had starring roles in Suicide Squad and The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Azinger: 'Can't see anybody beating Tiger' at his best

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 2:44 pm

There's a new world No. 1, and a fresh crop of young guns eager to make their mark on the PGA Tour in 2019. But according to Paul Azinger, the player with the highest ceiling is still the same as it was when he was walking inside the ropes.

Azinger was named Monday as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports, and on "Morning Drive" he was asked which player is the best when all are playing their best. The former PGA champion pondered new world No. 1 Brooks Koepka and former No. 1 Dustin Johnson, but he came back around to a familiar answer: Tiger Woods.

"I just can't see anybody beating Tiger when Tiger's at his best. I just can't see it," Azinger said. "He's not his best yet, but he's almost his best. And when Tiger's his best, there's more that comes with Tiger than just the score he shoots. That crowd comes with Tiger, and it's a whole 'nother dynamic when Tiger's at his best. And I'm just going to have to say that when Tiger's at his best, he's still the best."

Woods, 42, started this year ranked No. 656 in the world but had a resurgent season that included a pair of near-misses at The Open and PGA Championship and culminated with his win at the Tour Championship that ended a five-year victory drought. For Azinger, the question now becomes how he can follow up a breakthrough campaign as he looks to contend consistently against players from a younger generation.

"That's why we watch, to see if he can maintain that. To see what he's capable of," Azinger said. "Now longevity becomes the issue for Tiger Woods. In seven or eight years, he's going to be 50 years old. That goes fast. I'm telling you, that goes really fast."

When Woods returns to action, he'll do so with a focus on the upcoming Masters as he looks to capture the 15th major title that has eluded him for more than a decade. With bombers like Koepka and Johnson currently reigning on the PGA Tour, Azinger believes the key for Woods will be remaining accurate while relying on the world-class iron play that has been a strength throughout his career.

"I think he's going to have to recognize that he's not the beast out there when it comes to smacking that ball off the tee. But I'd like to see him try to hit a couple more fairways periodically. That'd be nice," he said. "If he can drive that ball in the fairway, with that putter, we've seen what his putter is capable of. The sky's the limit, boys."

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Spieth drops out of top 10 for first time since 2014

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 2:08 pm

As Brooks Koepka ascended to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, a former No. 1 continued a notable decline.

Jordan Spieth didn't play last week's CJ Cup, where Koepka won by four shots. But Jason Day did, and his T-5 finish in South Korea moved him up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10 in the latest rankings. Spieth dropped from 10th to 11th, marking the first time that he has been outside the top 10 in the world rankings since November 2014.

Since that time, he has won 12 times around the world, including three majors, while spending 26 weeks as world No. 1. But he hasn't won a tournament since The Open last July, and this year he missed the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. Spieth is expected to make his season debut next week in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Koepka and Day were the only movers among the top 10 on a week that saw many top players remain in place. Sergio Garcia's rain-delayed win at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters moved him up four spots to No. 27, while Gary Woodland went from 38th to 30th after finishing second behind Koepka on Jeju Island.

Koepka will tee off as world No. 1 for the first time this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where new No. 2 Dustin Johnson will look to regain the top spot. Justin Rose is now third in the world, with Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Day rounding out the top 10.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods remained 13th in the world for the fifth straight week.

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Pavin's season nearly ends after slow-play penalty

By Will GrayOctober 22, 2018, 1:50 pm

Corey Pavin's season on the PGA Tour Champions nearly came to an end because of a slow-play penalty.

Penalties for pace are often discussed or threatened, but rarely doled out on either the PGA Tour or the over-50 circuit. But that changed Sunday during the final round of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, where Pavin was told by a rules official after completing his round that he would receive a 1-stroke penalty for slow play.

The penalty was on the surface rather harmless, turning an even-par 72 into a 1-over 73 and dropping Pavin into a tie for 15th. But this was the first event of a three-tournament postseason for PGA Tour Champions players, and only the top 54 in points advanced to this week's Invesco QQQ Championship.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


Pavin, who has two top-10 finishes in 20 starts this season, barely held on at 53rd place after the penalty was enforced.

Slow-play discussions came up earlier this season surrounding Bernhard Langer at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, but Golf Channel analyst Lanny Wadkins expressed his surprise on the telecast that it was Pavin who got a shot added to his score.

"Of all the things to happen with all the times I have played - I can't even count the number of rounds - I never thought Corey Pavin was a slow player," Wadkins said. "All the guys we know are slow players have never been penalized out here. Where has this been for the last 15 years?"

The subject of the penalty also raised an eyebrow from Stephen Ames, who finished alongside Pavin in 15th place while Langer finished second behind Woody Austin: