Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Sorting through the drama at the PGA Championship

Posted by Bill Koch on August 16, 2010

So many storylines came out of the final round at the PGA Championship that we could spend the next week trying to recap the proceedings. We’ll focus on a few of them here for our Ramble On audience and devote a little more time in the upcoming days to our thoughts on the United States Ryder Cup team. What we know for sure is that nobody will be talking about the eventual winner, Martin Kaymer, and we’ll be sure to give him some love during our recap.

— Bubba Watson is getting off cheap today. The ruling that knocked Dustin Johnson out of the playoff dominated Monday’s headlines, but Watson’s choke job in the three-hole showdown against Kaymer made us think of Jean Van de Velde and his 1999 meltdown during the Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Watson and Kaymer were even going to the final hole on Sunday and both hit poor tee shots into the right rough. Kaymer’s ball drew a horrible lie in the gnarly grass, making it impossible for him to reach the green in two. Watson’s ball was sitting up a bit, but his odds might have been 1-in-25 of carrying the small inlet and deep bunkers that front the 18th green from 230-plus yards away under that sort of pressure. Playing first, he made the foolish decision to swing for the green, predictably left his ball almost 40 yards short in the water, and his chances of winning the tournament were pretty much gone.

— Yes, Johnson got screwed on some level. There’s no chance that we thought his ball was in a bunker when he grounded his club and hit his second shot toward the 18th green on Sunday. There was no reason for Johnson to believe that the gallery would be standing in a bunker.

But let’s stop and think for a minute – Johnson had a one-shot lead going to the 72nd hole of the tournament. Knowing that he shot 82 in the final round of the U.S. Open earlier this year to blow a three-shot cushion, can we safely say that this guy stains ‘em under pressure? Who plays such outstanding golf through the first 71 holes and then fans a tee shot far enough to the right that the gallery should have been wearing helmets? Who misses the seven-foot putt on the final green that (as far as he knew at the time) would have won the tournament by making a timid stroke and pushing it to the right? Johnson does. He’s looking like another fragile mental case that the Euros are going to eat for breakfast like beans on toast.

— Teddy Scott sure did pick the wrong week to take a vacation. Scott is Watson’s regular caddie, but he was home during the PGA Championship with his wife and their newborn son. You’d have to guess that Scott was watching on television like the rest of us were when his boss put one club back in the bag and pulled another one for his second shot into the final hole – the difference is likely that Scott was a bit more horrified about what was going to happen next. Would Watson have made such a decision with Scott and not Mark Carens, the usual caddie for Brookline’s own James Driscoll and Scott’s stand-in for the week, on the bag? Let’s hope that Scott is back in action for October’s Ryder Cup, because Watson won’t be able to afford making such boneheaded decisions in what was essentially a match play format against the best that Europe has to offer.

— Kaymer’s a damn good player and a name to watch for years to come. All the 25-year-old German did to capture his first major on Sunday was roll in a 12-foot slider on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff and erase a one-shot deficit against Watson in the three-hole aggregate format. Kaymer’s birdie at the brutal 235-yard 17th in extra holes was pure guts. His ability to hold his composure despite a poor drive on the final hole and limit his damage to a bogey was something that Watson could learn from, and perhaps we should have seen this coming – Kaymer was in contention late into Sunday at Pebble Beach and has a very solid all-around game. That sort of discipline turns good tour players into major winners, as Kaymer discovered on Sunday.

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5 Responses to “Sorting through the drama at the PGA Championship”

  1. […] disaster written all over him. He’s a choke artist who flamed out on Sunday at the U.S. Open and was miscast as the victim after grounding his club in a bunker at the PGA Championship this year. Why was Johnson’s tee shot […]

  2. […] A disaster at No. 6 typified the wretched performance thrown out there by Mickelson and Johnson. Mickelson rinsed his second shot from the center of the fairway at the 6th and Johnson whiffed a 4-footer for par that would have halved the hole, a miss that looked very much like his choke job on the 18th green at Whistling Straits. […]

  3. […] that Dustin Johnson rinsed his tee shot while trailing with Phil Mickelson is no shock to us – we’ve been telling you for months that Johnson was gutless under pressure and they were BY FAR the worst-performing of the eight teams that teed it up to open the […]

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