No it was not Tiger Woods and it was not Phil Mickelson either. It was Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner who were competing for the major trophy. It was the PGA Championship 2011 and it was being played in Atlanta Athletic Club.
Here is the scene. Bradley down by 2 with 4 holes to go. Now, the last 4-hole stretch here at Atlanta Athletic Club is considered as one of the toughest stretch in PGA Tour. So could we get a drama here? No, down by 2, Keegan puts his tee shot in the water. Are you kidding me? He gets a 6 or triple bogey in the hole. Now, Dufner is up by 5 strokes with 4 holes to go. On a normal day he can par out and win the tournament. What does he do – he puts his tee shot in the water on 15. The drama starts. But then, Dufner put an end to the drama or so he thought when he drilled his bogey putt. Still up by 4 strokes with 3 holes to go. But wait, Keegan birdied the 16th hole. Dufner who was in the group behind him put his approach shot in the bunker to make a bogey on 16. Now it is only 2 shot difference. But then the drama picked up steam when Keegan birdied the 17th hole. It was 35 footer, right to left, and fast greens. There is probably a 2% chance of Keegan making that and he does. After Jason 3 putts his 17th they are tied. Now Jason has to make a par for this to go to playoffs. He does that on 18.
The playoff was a drama as well when Dufner almost holed the approach at 16 but missed his birdie putt and Keegan birdied the hole. The climax of the drama came when Keegan had about 190 to the pin, over the water, with wind and he made a perfect shot. Now we golfers know what can go wrong with that shot – he could hit it thin, he can pull it, if he pushes it will be in the water, if he hits it fat it will be in the water as well. With 2 stoke lead does he lay up and just take the safe route but as we saw now he needed that shot to win as Dufner birdied the hole. For me to hit that 5 iron perfect, I will have to hold the club light, be in exact position with the ball, right pasture, good take away, good contact, come from inside, and release. Phew all that – but for a professional such as Keegan, it was probably a dream come true. He has done that shot many times but could he do that under pressure with millions watching? And he did. He was in the biggest stage and he performed. He was the Tiger Woods that we were missing. Golf had drama again.
To many people who watch baseball or basketball, we want to invite you to watch some golf. We can provide you with drama. Yes, Phil showed some brilliance on Sunday or Steve Sricker gave us good golf. However, when Adam Scott made a 3 putt from 3 feet away, I went – ‘Steve Williams you need to practice your putting more!’ And now who says we don’t have enough drama in golf!!!