Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: PGA Championship
Pat Bradley’s nephew, Keegan, claimed the 93rd PGA Championship Sunday with a stirring playoff victory at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Who’s Pat Bradley, you ask?
An LPGA Hall-of-Famer who won six majors and 31 tournaments from 1976-1995. But enough about her.
Sunday was all about Keegan, author of a remarkable comeback after a triple-bogey on the 15th hole. The lanky rookie from Vermont outlasted Jason Dufner to become just the second player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win a major on his first try.
When the name Francis Ouimet is invoked, you’re talking serious history.
Like Ouimet’s U.S. Open victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, Bradley’s was big for the U.S. of A., snapping a six-major drought for Americans.
Before we get to this week’s Golf Claps and Silent Treatment, a quick look at how our darkhorse picks fared. The verdict: meh. While four of five made the cut, none finished better than T56 (Ricky Barnes). Hey, there’s a reason they were darkhorses.
On with the awards…
- Keegan Bradley: Can you say “baby-faced assassin”? Bradley’s chances appeared to drown when he skulled a chip into the water on par-3 15th. But he rebounded with birdies on the next two holes, made a gutsy par on 18, then bettered Dufner by a shot in the three-hole playoff. Bravo, Mr. Bradley.
- Jason Dufner: Having missed four consecutive cuts and being, well, Jason Dufner, the 34-year-old journeyman was farther under the radar than a burrowing mole. But Dufner’s unerring driver and cucumber-cool demeanor served him well until back-to-back-to-back bogeys dropped him into a playoff. Still, golf gained a new appreciation for this tobacco-chewing, college-football-loving everyman from Auburn. War Eagle, indeed.
- The long putter: It pains us to say, but the darn thing done good. Again. A week after delivering a win for Steve Williams, er, Adam Scott, the long putter was a flat-out weapon for Bradley, whose birdie bomb on the 71st hole will live forever in highlights.
- Atlanta Athletic Club: Abused by players and pundits for its penal, strategy-killing design, the course got the last laugh by producing Sunday’s high drama. That wasn’t enough, though, to keep us from giving it the…
- Atlanta Athletic Club: With fairways and greens hemmed in by water and sand, the course gave golfers two options for each shot – straight and straighter. The antithesis of strategic golf and worthy of the scorn it received from Phil Mickelson, among others.
- Tiger Woods: Actually, Woods gave galleries a lot to cheer about in the form of eight birdies. Unfortunately, he nixed those with five double-bogeys and exited after rounds of 77-73. See ya next year, Tiger.
- Rory McIlroy: He gets more of an under-the-breath ouch than stone silence, but it’s hard to imagine what the U.S. Open champ was thinking Thursday when he took a full whack at his ball against a tree root. Since the resulting wrist strain prevented McIlroy from contending, let’s hope young Rory isn’t in for a career full of injurious setbacks like a certain someone else we know…