advertisement

Live Blog

Once again, PGA.com's T.J. Auclair has drawn the tough assignment. We're sending him out on the course all four days of the 92nd PGA Championship to tell us what he sees, hears and thinks at Whistling Straits.

2010 PGA Championship

Gusting winds Sunday put a little bite back into what had been a mostly benign Whistling Straits. (Getty Images)

By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer

Email your question or comment to T.J. at tjpgablog@yahoo.com.

7:15 p.m. CDT --
Martin Kaymer defeated Bubba Watson in a three-hole playoff to win his first major championship, the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Kaymer played the three holes in even par with a par on No. 10, a birdie on No. 17 and a bogey on No. 18.

Wow. What an ending to the tournament. Everyone here is still stunned over what happened to Dustin Johnson.

Thanks for another great week and we’ll look forward to the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

7:00 p.m. CDT -- To help everyone better understand Dustin Johnson's two-shot penalty, here's the exact wording of the bulletin that was given to all players prior to the start of the 92nd PGA Championship. It was also posted in the locker room:

Notice to Competitors - Bunkers

1. All areas of the course that were designed and built as sand bunkers will be played as bunkers (hazards), whether or not they have been raked. This will mean that many bunkers positioned outside of the ropes, as well as some areas of bunkers inside the ropes, close to the rope line, will likely include numerous footprints, heel prints and tire tracks during the play of the Championship. Such irregularities of surface are a part of the game and no free relief will be available from these conditions. All bunkers inside the ropes will be raked each morning prior to play as normal.

2.  The local rule allowing players to move stones in bunkers WILL be in effect.

6:35 p.m.. CDT -- The inbox is lighting up right now over the ruling to assess Dustin Johnson a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole, hence costing him a spot in a playoff.

While I understand a lot of people are upset, the PGA of America got the rule right. Every player was given a sheet of paper at the start of the week that included the local rules for Whistling Straits, and the first rule on that sheet, according to Mark Wilson from the PGA Rules Committee, explained that all bunkers on the course -– both inside and outside of the ropes and regardless of if they had footprints or tire tracks in them -– would play as bunkers. That means the club cannot be grounded. The rule was also posted in the players' locker room.

Since Johnson grounded his club, he had to take the two-shot penalty and a triple-bogey, to miss the playoff by two shots.

Editor's Note: Johnson should have known the rule, plain and simple. He had a copy of it, and it was posted in the players' locker room all week. If he had any doubt whatsoever, he should have asked for a ruling. Especially in such a critical point in the tournament. Anyone bashing The PGA of America or the PGA Championship is flat-out wrong.

6:20 p.m. CDT -- We know there's going to be a playoff at the 92nd PGA Championship. We're just waiting to see if Dustin Johnson will be a part of it.

Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson all finished 72 holes at 11 under, but Johnson may have committed a rules infraction with his approach to the final hole by apparently grounding his club in a bunker. Rules officials are going over the potential infraction with Johnson now, as Kaymer and Watson wait patiently.

5:40 p.m. CDT -- In case of a playoff, which is a realistic possibility, the PGA Championship has a three-hole playoff format.

The three-hole playoff will be contested on holes 10, 17 and 18. Then, if two or more players are still tied, they will play No. 18 again. If they're still tied, they head back to play No. 10 and so forth. After the first three holes, the playoff becomes sudden death.

5:50 p.m. CDT -- Suddenly, the 92nd PGA Championship is anyone's ballgame.

Martin Kaymer missed a short par putt at No. 15 to drop back to 11 under. While he was doing that, Bubba Watson followed up a birdie on 16 with a bogey at 17 to drop to 11 under. Rory McIlroy finally made a putt -– a birdie on No. 14 -– but then missed one inside 8 feet on No. 15 to fall to 10 under.

In the meantime, 47-year-old Steve Elkington reached the par-5 16th in two shots and two-putted for birdie to grab a share of the lead at 11 under.

Also at 10 under with McIlroy are Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson. No. 16 is really the last chance to grab a birdie since Nos. 17 and 18 are playing so difficult. Kaymer and Dustin Johnson are the only two contenders left who have yet to play the hole.

5:50 p.m. CDT -- Could it be that Martin Kaymer is the best player in the world that not a whole lot of people in the U.S. have ever heard of?

Kaymer is the No. 13-ranked player in the world. He's also one of only five players to have a finish in the top 10 of two majors this season (he tied for eighth at the U.S. Open and tied for seventh at the British Open).

If I'm one of the guys trying to catch Kaymer right now, I'm thinking I'd better make something happen soon because it sure doesn't look like the German is going to crack.

I was just talking with my colleague, Stan Awtrey, who brought up a great point -– no player wants to go to the daunting 500-yard, par-4 18th hole in need of a birdie today. No. 18 is playing as the most difficult hole on the course today with a stroke-average of 4.53.

I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable needing just a bogey there for a win or a playoff.

While I was writing this, Bubba Watson must have been looking over my shoulder. He reached the par-5 16th hole in two and nearly holed a monster eagle putt. Instead, he tapped in for the birdie to snag a share of the lead with Kaymer at 12 under.

And here's a Nick Watney update: the poor guy made a double-bogey on No. 11 and is now 9 over for the round. He started the day with a three-shot lead at 13 under. Right now, he's 4 under and tied for 18th.

4:30 CDT -- Rory McIlroy is two shots off the lead at 10 under through 12 holes. If he doesn't win this PGA Championship, you can chalk it up to his inability to get putts to drop in the final round.

McIlroy is even par for the day, but has had loads of birdie looks that have peaked in the hole before deciding to skirt the edge instead.

3:50 CDT -- Apparently a couple of veterans who also happen to be major champions would like to know what all that noise of a young gun winning this major is all about.

Steve Elkington, 47, winner of the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera, is 2 under for the day and has pulled to within two shots of leader Martin Kaymer at 10 under.

Zach Johnson, the 34-year-old winner of the 2007 Masters, is also making a run. He's 2 under and two shots off the lead.

Nick Watney's slide continues. He's 6-over par for the day and followed up his triple bogey on No. 7 with a bogey at No. 8.

Kaymer is holding steady at the top, but with two men who have won majors lurking, he'll need to keep his foot on the accelerator and avoid a big mistake.

4:25 p.m. CDT -- It may turn out to be the swing that cost Nick Watney a chance to win the 92nd PGA Championship.

Playing the 208-yard, par-3 eighth hole, Watney hit a near-shank, way right of the green and into Lake Michigan, as Cassandra in Oak Park, Ill., explains:

Hi TJ --

What a day, what a day. Nick Watney has just hit his drive on the seventh to the edge of the shore and is doing his best to back pedal away from leading and winning his first major. It looks to be a beautiful day with lovely cloud formations - lucky you. Butterflies, dragon flies and a few birdies and all -- I look forward to your assessment of today's round. Have fun and use your bug spray!


Watney's hiccup at No. 7 led to a drop. From the rough hitting three, Watney was only able to advance the ball a few yards into more rough. With his fourth shot on the par 3, Watney finally found the back of the green. Two putts later, he signed for a triple-bogey 6 and went from a share off the lead to three shots off the lead. It can happen fast out there. We could be in store for the most exciting final-round back nine of a major in some time.

I have to say, watching Watney come undone is difficult. I was at Doral last year when he pretty much owned the CA Championship only to have it stolen by Phil Mickelson on Sunday. Watney was very emotional when he came into the media center and it was clear that he was stung badly by what had happened. If he does let this one get away, it could stick with Watney for quite some time. The good news is, he's still got 11 holes left to fix things.

And, Cassandra, I wish I had used the bug spray before now. The mosquitoes here don't mess around and because of the feast they had on my feet, I'm left to blog inside.

3:10 p.m. CDT -- As expected, the wind is playing a big factor in the final round. We're seeing plenty more shots from the rough and from bunkers than we did on Saturday, when it seemed like everyone was blitzing the course with low scores. While low scores are still out there at Whistling Straits, it's more important today than any other day this week to keep the ball in play.

And now this ...

Tiger Woods began PGA Championship week at No. 10 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings (the top 8 qualify will be determined when play ends this afternoon). Based on Tiger's final round of 1-over 73 and a current tie for 30th, he's going to finish outside the top 10 and will need to rely on a wildcard pick from captain Corey Pavin on Sept. 7.

But is Tiger deserving of the selection? The PGA Championship was only his ninth start of the 2010 season. Even still, he remains the world's No. 1 ranked player. Before this week, Tiger told everyone he planned to play his way onto the team. Since that's not going to happen, he's made Pavin's life far more difficult.

Personally, I think Pavin is in a lose-lose situation. He'll get flak if he leaves the No. 1 player off the team and he might also get flak if he chooses Tiger, who is far from the Tiger everyone has come to expect.

The question is: Would the U.S. team really be at a loss if Tiger doesn't join them in Wales? Don't forget, the U.S. won at Valhalla in 2008 without Tiger as he nursed a surgically repaired knee.

2:40 p.m. CDT -- Correction to an earlier observation -- Tiger Woods actually tied for third in the 2006 Masters. You have to go back to 2004 to find the last time he finished outside of the top 10 in consecutive majors (the 2003 PGA Championship, 2004 Masters and U.S. Open).

Germany's Martin Kaymer, who has sole possession of the lead here at 11 under after Nick Watney's bogey on No. 4, isn't well known in the U.S., but he's made quite a name for himself in Europe. The 25-year-old owns five European Tour victories, most recently the 2010 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. He was the first German to be named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year after a superb debut season in 2007 during which he racked up five top-10 finishes.

Nick Faldo thought so much of Kaymer, that while he didn't select him as a captain's pick for the European side in the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, he did invite Kaymer to stay with the team to get some insight into what he can expect when he eventually plays in the Ryder Cup.

While Kaymer would be a surprise winner in the U.S., few in Europe would be surprised to see him win.

2:20 p.m. CDT -- Another young gun we haven't even talked about this week is making a big move up the leaderboard this afternoon. Camilo Villegas is on a surge with five birdies in his first eight holes. At 9 under, he's only two shots off the lead. Villegas has two top-10 finishes in majors, highlighted by a tie for fourth at the 2008 PGA Championship.

One guy who has no chance to win today is Tiger Woods. It looks like for the first time since the 2006 Masters and U.S. Open, Tiger will go two consecutive major championships without a top-10 finish. Through 14 holes today, Tiger is tied for 31st, 1 over for the round and 2 under for the tournament. He's still knocking it all over the place out there.

Phil Mickelson is making the biggest move of the early starters. Lefty started the day at 1 under and is now 7 under through 17 holes.

1:50 p.m. CDT -- OK, that's not the start Nick Watney was looking for. Watney -- who began the final round with a three-shot lead -- just made a double-bogey on the first hole. Meanwhile, his final-round playing partner Dustin Johnson made birdie for a four-shot swing and a share of the lead at 11 under.

Johnson and Watney are now just one shot ahead of Jason Day, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy. Whistling Straits has turned into the invasion of the young guns.

Let's not forget -- Johnson had a three-shot lead in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach two months ago. He had a disastrous start, wound up with an 82 and a tie for eighth. Is he out for redemption today? If so, Watney certainly helped him out.

1:30 p.m. CDT -- Just as I was leaving the range, a swarm on dragon flies -- the biggest ones I've ever seen in my life -- took over the range. These things were so massive, the could have been remote controlled.

There's been a lot of talk all week about the abundance of insects in Wisconsin due to a very wet summer. I can call myself a victim and even the boss will vouch for this ...

A couple of nights ago we were kicking back, enjoying a nice dinner after a long day at the course. There was no room inside the restaurant, so we were told we could eat on the outside patio.

Anyway, not thinking twice of it, I had on a pair of sandals. I noticed mosquitoes all over the place, but they seemed to be leaving me alone. Boy, was I wrong.

Today -- two days later -- my feet are covered in mosquito bites. Must have at least 30 bites on my right foot alone. I can't even put into words how itchy it is.

The life of a blogger just isn't that easy!

Editor's Note: I do feel sorry for you, T.J., as I'm sure it's quite uncomfortable. Now quit your whining and get back to work.

12:20 p.m. CDT --
The English duo of Simon Khan and Simon Dyson are hitting balls beside one another on the range. Dyson reached down to put a tee in the ground. As he did, Khan chinned a short wedge shot, sending a small welcome mat of a divot onto Dyson's back. They shared a good laugh as Khan apologized.

Luckily for Dyson, he's wearing a dark shirt ... but he's got to do something about those hot pink pants.

12:00 p.m. CDT -- Save the best for last, that's what they say, right? The adage certainly applies here at Whistling Straits, where today we've been graced with the best weather we've seen all week along the shores of Lake Michigan.

That said, it also seems like we're in for the windiest day we've had all week, with gusts expected to hit 25 mph. That's great news for the final round of a major -- not so much for the golfers, but certainly for the fans. The wind should result in a lot of movement on the leaderboard. Can someone post an early number to get the attention of Nick Watney? We'll have to wait and see.

Looks like a blog mention may have gotten our friend Craig Piper, formerly of Parts Unknown, in a little bit of hot water:

Thanks for the blog. I'm in trouble now.

My regular Sunday morning group saw my mention in your blog and are challenging me on my prediction -- the bill on the patio next Sunday is on the line if I blew it!

An interesting finish to Saturday should see some fast and furious play today.

It's great to see the younger players rising to the front, but what a log jam just behind the leaders.

(Parts unknown -- boring Southern Ontario, but not Toronto)

Regards.


If memory serves, Craig, you predicted a winning score between 15-16 under. Based on the wind we're feeling here today, I'd have to say if I were you, I might want to play sick next Sunday, or at the very least "forget" your wallet at home.