Monday, August 16, 2010

PGA Championship

The finial Major of the PGA season concluded yesterday and it concluded in dramatic fashion! The PGA Championship was played at Whistling Straights in Kohler Wisconsin. This is course that was designed to play like a links course and when the winds picked up off of Lake Michigan, it played just like a links course. It was an amazing looking course with several holes on the edge of the lake and over 1,200 sand bunkers all around. Who knew that one of those 1,200 bunkers would help decide the outcome of the tournament?

Being a huge golf fan, I watched more coverage than a normal human should, but as I was watching hours and hours of tournament coverage I realized that a majority of those sand traps all over the course didn’t come into play for the pros. I am sure with the average golfer; all of those traps would be in play. But for the pros, they hit the ball so long and straight, they could easily avoid 1,150 of those bunkers. Well one of those so called bunkers turned out to be the downfall of the leader of the tournament.

On Sunday, the course was playing tough and there weren’t a lot of low scores and most of the guys that started at the top of the leader board seemed to slowly fade away except for Dustin Johnson. He was able to stay close to the top all day and finally took the lead on the 17th hole by making a 15 foot birdie. With former UGA player, Bubba Watson and German golfer Martin Kaymer already in the clubhouse with an 11 under par score, all Johnson had to do is par the 18th hole to take home his first Major title.

He hit his drive well right and it landed in a tiny patch of sand where the gallery had been walking all week. Thinking that this was just grass and dirt that had been trampled on all week by the fans, he grounded his club before his shot towards the green. “Walking up there, seeing the shot, it never once crossed my minds that I was in a sand trap,” Johnson said after the round. He went on to bogie the hole and he thought he was going into a playoff with Watson and Kaymer. But as he walked off the green to the scorers table, he was notified by a PGA rules official that he had grounded his club in a bunker. He asked “what bunker?” He was assessed a two stroke penalty and ended up tying for 5th place.

Here is Dustin Johnson playing the controversial shot out of the crowd.

I know the rules of golf and I know in theory that is a penalty, but if that was a sand trap that was suppose to be in play, why were there fans standing it? They should have had the ropes back further and it would have been clear this was a trap. I can’t blame Dustin Johnson for this; I blame the PGA for allowing fans to walk in a trap that was in play.

Here is the tournament winner, Martin Kaymer

Kaymer went on to beat Bubba Watson in a three hole playoff. Bubba is a very aggressive player and he went for it on the 18th hole in the playoffs but due to a poor lie, he didn’t hit the shot he wanted and went into the water close to the green. Kaymer played a great round and a great tournament, and ended up winning. But unfortunately this PGA Championship will be remembered for the penalty on Johnson, not Kaymer winning his first major. I loved every minute of the tournament but I do feel that the PGA has to take a look in the way they set up the ropes to keep fans back. The ball Johnson hit was 20 people deep in that area of the course. If there was a trap in play, the only ones who knew it were the fans standing in it! I am not saying that if Johnson would have played in the playoffs he would have won, but not even getting the chance to play in the playoffs is wrong! Congratulations to Martin Kaymer and great job by Bubba Watson for getting back into the lead and eventually into the playoffs. It was a great tournement to watch and I can't wait for the playoffs to start in a couple of weeks!

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