For quite a while fans, media and even tour players were complaining about this year’s PGA Championship. The complaints were about the course, the endless low testosterone ads (read below) and the leader board’s lack of star power. It took a while, but the PGA Championship FINALLY had the feel and excitement of a major championship on the back nine Sunday, despite the relative unknowns atop the leader board and completely insane number of commercials on the CBS broadcast.
2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley
I’ve been a Keegan Bradley fan ever since I followed him around at the HP Byron Nelson Championship a few months ago for his first win. That win was in a playoff as was his win this week at the PGA Championship. Being in close proximity to Keegan on the course and in interviews at the Byron, I definitely felt a confident and energetic vibe. The guy has a very positive energy which you can feel as soon as he walks into the room.
The win this week for Keegan had some very cool aspects to it. The win was his first major start. The win was the first major win ever for a player with a long putter. I haven’t looked, but I’m guessing it is the first major win a player has ever recorded with a triple bogey on the final nine. If anyone has heard about that stat, let me know.
“I just kept telling myself, don’t let that hole define this whole tournament.” ~Keegan Bradley on his triple bogey in the final nine, 15th hole
What amazed me most was the poise and fearlessness Bradley displayed, especially on the 18th hole during regulation and in the playoff against Jason Dufner. Those approach shots of roughly 185 and 195 yards will trigger the gag reflex of just about any player who is trying to win his first major. The shot he hit into the first playoff hole, after Dufner nearly holed his approach for eagle, was a fantastic answer to the challenge laid down by his only remaining opponent.
“It feels unbelievable. It seems like a dream and I’m afraid I’m going to wake up here in the next five minutes and it’s not going to be real.” ~Keegan Bradley on the PGA Championship win
I’m amazed at how well Bradley played the final brutal holes at Atlanta Athletic Club. With the playoff he played the final three holes five times and was -1 for that set. The field averaged well over par for those final three holes.
Rookie of the year is a lock for Bradley. For that matter, with two wins including a major title, Bradley is definitely a candidate for player of the year on the PGA Tour.
I was amazed by Jason Dufner’s performance and really thought he’d win the tournament because he was so calm and in control. But his swings and putts really started showing his nerves in the final few holes. Unfortunately he gave up a five shot lead which he held late in the round. The final tough holes of AAC made the difference.
“Everybody has struggled on them. Unfortunately, I had the lead and I struggled on them. That was the deciding factor, and Keegan made a couple birdies there, and I made a couple bogeys.” ~Jason Dufner on the final three holes
It was truly amazing to hear the confidence Tiger Woods had in interviews at the beginning of the week, only to watch him flame out and finish missing the cut at TEN over par. Tiger’s game is really a train wreck right now. Based on the fact that he says he’s 100% healthy, that must mean it is all in Tiger’s head. What he’s trying to do with his new swing, or other things on his mind are like kryptonite to golf’s former superman. Will Tiger ever get back that mental edge he once had? Not any time soon it seems. Listening to and reading comments from Tiger fans and haters is quite entertaining. Amazing how polarizing Tiger has become with fans.
Phil Mickelson lurked in striking range for the whole tournament, yet never struck.
World #1 Luke Donald was lurking, but found a watery grave on the par-3 15th and made bogey on the 18th. He finished tied with world #2 Lee Westwood for 8th place.
Many top players didn’t even make the cut, including my pick to win Jason Day. Other big names who watched the PGA from their couches over the weekend surprisingly included Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Stewart Cink.
TNT produced an awful intro to their coverage which was basically a Tiger Woods love fest. Gag.
Many fans complained that CBS‘s coverage was too commercial heavy and I completely agree. In fact, print/web media members calculated a ratio of three commercials per every five golf shots shown. Some theorize they’re making up for the lack of ads they can show in the Masters. Within that CBS ad lineup were about a million too many erectile dysfunction or low testosterone ads. I’m getting really sick of those ads in golf broadcasts. I guess they’ve done the demographic research and 99% of golf viewers on TV are men who can’t get it up. I’m happy that I’m in the 1%… for now. Some fans had a neat drinking game idea. Take a drink every time CBS aired a commercial. You’d be drunk faster than at any fraternity party.
Even John Daly chimed in on the ads via twitter:
“some great golf today but I don’t need anymore of these CBS ads every 2 mins–erectile dysfunction & those pesky frequent flyer programs!” ~John Daly
I don’t know when or if Atlanta Athletic Club will get another major, but if it never gets another one that would be fine with me.
It is sad that the last major has come and gone. The golf season is now far past the half way point. Yes the FedEx Cup playoffs are coming and that will be somewhat interesting. Personally, I’ll be counting down the days until April, 2012 and the next Masters.
Solstice Golfathon article in Fairways Magazine