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9:01AM

RealClearSports: Wrong Time for Cursed Golfer Johnson

By Art Spander
For RealClearSports.com


PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Golf isn't a sport, it's absurdity. Columnist Jim Murray, who used to belong to Riviera, where they're playing the Northern Trust Open this week, called golf the pursuit of the infinite.

It has rules out of the 19th Century. It has scenarios out of the pages of "Alice in Wonderland."

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2011
9:49AM

RealClearSports: A Game of Quirky Rules and Personal Honor

By Art Spander
For RealClearSports.com


So the cry has been raised: Let's rewrite the rules of golf. And then what, baseball? Football? If it's unfair a player can't ground his club in a bunker, it's also unfair that three strikes are out or that a fumble belongs to the last man who had possession.

Indeed, golf has a lot of quirky regulations. It also has a code of honor, which is why a golfer doesn't have to be watched by a referee or an umpire, not that anyone could follow the progress or regress of 150 people on a course.

Read the full story here.

© RealClearSports 2010
9:21AM

Global Golf Post: Crazy Week, Wild Finish, Solid Winner

By Art Spander
For GlobalGolfPost.com


SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN — The PGA Championship, for reasons logical or not, used to be called the major that's a minor. Oh how that has changed. And we're not Whistling Straits, uh, whistling Dixie.

There wasn't much more anybody could wish for from this year's tournament, whether it was the buildup surrounding Tiger and Phil, the fog delays, which turned the opening rounds into Unfinished Symphonies, the swapping of denials over Ryder Cup selections between Corey Pavin and Jim Gray, the course record by the guy from China whose only English may be "You're away," and a stretch run that included almost everyone except Palmer and Nicklaus — or Tiger and Phil.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2010 Global Golf Post
9:12AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Kaymer wins PGA after Johnson misses playoff because of odd penalty

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- For the world beyond America, it was another major championship. For Dustin Johnson, it was another heartbreak, and how many can one man absorb?

For golf, it was another one of those decisions which prove as depressing as they are bewildering. Martin Kaymer won the 92nd PGA Championship Sunday at Whistling Straits. He did it in a three-hole playoff against Bubba Watson after each finished with a 72-hole score of 11-under-par 277. Kaymer closing with a 70, Watson a 68.

It was a playoff which should have included Johnson, who missed out after he was assessed a two-shot penalty for grounding his wedge in a sand trap he didn't think was a sand trap on the 18th hole.

Kaymer joins Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who won the British Open, to make it three majors in succession for players not from the United States.

On a day when third-round leader Nick Watney fell apart, shooting a 9-over 81, it was his playing partner, Johnson, who suffered equally.

Johnson had done at the U.S. Open what Watney did Sunday -- both had three-shot leads after 54 holes before collapsing. But Johnson seemed to have atoned for that failure of two months ago as he stood ready to play the final hole in the PGA Championship.

He was 12 under par, a shot ahead of Watson and Kaymer. He drove into the sand, or dirt, depending on one's interpretation. He then landed in rough near the green. After wedging on, Johnson two-putted for a bogey to fall into an apparent three-way tie.

But as preparations were made for the three-hole playoff, officials announced Johnson had grounded his club in the hazard, against the rules, before his second shot.

The resulting two-shot penalty dropped him into a tie for fifth at 279. The gallery, hearing the announcement of the penalty, responded by booing, something almost unknown in golf.

"I thought it was a piece of dirt the crowd had trampled down,'' Johnson said of the spot where his tee shot landed. "I never thought it was a sand trap. It never once crossed my mind that I was in a bunker.''

It was one of 1,200 bunkers at the Straits, a course diabolically designed by architect Pete Dye along the shore of Lake Michigan.

The PGA of America posted a notice in the locker room and on the first tee throughout the week, reminding players that all bunkers will be treated like hazards - even though the ropes go right through the middle of some of them, and fans can pitch a lawn chair in them.

Six years ago in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Stuart Appleby was unaware of the rule and assessed a four-shot penalty.

"It's very unfortunate,'' Johnson said. "The only thing worse that could have happened was if I made the putt on the last hole.''

That would have been for a par and outright victory.

"I was excited I had a putt to win, or thinking I had a putt to win," Johnson said. "Then walking off the green talking to the rules official, saying that I've got a two-shot penalty.''

Asked if he felt something was stolen, Johnson said, "Maybe a little bit.''

Nothing was taken from Watney. He double-bogeyed the first hole and never recovered. "I think I got too far ahead of myself,'' Watney said, virtually repeating Johnson's words after his blowup at Pebble Beach.

Kaymer, a 25-year-old German who won the playoff with a bogey on 18 after Watson hit his approach in the water, moved up to No. 3 in the Ryder Cup standings for Europe and to No. 5 in the world.

"I don't realize what happened," Kaymer said. "I just won my first major. I've got goose bumps just talking about it."

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/kaymer-wins-pga-after-johnson-misses-playoff-because-of-odd-penalty-1.2213210
Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.
9:09AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Old Man Lehman gets a hole-in-one

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- In a game that suddenly seems dominated by 20-somethings such as Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, there's room for 51-year-old Tom Lehman.

Lehman, who qualified for this 92nd PGA Championship by winning the Senior PGA, made a hole-in-one during the third round Saturday at the 223-yard 17th hole with a 4-iron. He shot a 1-over-par 73 and is at 1-over 217 for 54 holes.

When the PGA Championship was held previously at Whistling Straits in 2004, Hale Irwin, also a senior, and Robert Gamez had aces.

19th hole

Y.E. Yang won the tournament last year at Hazeltine, beating Tiger Woods head to head. But Yang, who didn't get his second round completed until Saturday morning, finished with a double-bogey 6 and a 76. His two-round 148 total missed the cut by three shots . . .

Martin Kaymer of Germany, now based in Scottsdale, Ariz., after coming from the European Tour, is tied for fourth at 207 and no less importantly has retained his PGA Tour eligibility for 2011. "That was my plan,'' said Kaymer, who had a 5-under 67 in the third round. "I'm excited to play here next year.'' . . .

The weather forecast for the final round is good after the possibility of a brief rain overnight . . . Chris Wood of England shot a 68 in the second round after a 78 in the first round, but he still missed the cut of 145 by a stroke . . . When someone told 21-year-old McIlroy of Northern Ireland that he seemed immune to pressure, McIlroy, tied for second heading into the fourth round, said, "I wouldn't say it's a stroll in the park, but the crowds are so far back from the fairways, you don't feel the atmosphere, which I suppose helps a little bit.'' . . . Dustin Johnson, in contention for a third straight major this year, said of Whistling Straits: "The course is intimidating off the tee, but you do have some room to maneuver the ball and get it in the fairway.''

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/old-man-lehman-gets-a-hole-in-one-1.2210503
Copyright © 2010 Newsday. All rights reserved.