GERMANY‘S Martin Kaymer has snatched the 2010 US PGA Championship in a dramatic final round play-off after a heart breaking final hole penalty ruled Dustin Johnson out of contention.
Kaymer defeated American Bubba Watson in the playoff after a dumbfounded Johnson was penalised for what no one at the time –apart from some eagle eyed video rules officials – realised was an operational bunker.
Johnson thought he was putting for his first outright Major win on the 18th but when he missed still thought he was in a three way playoff.
It was perhaps a blessing his putt missed as moments later rules officials approached him and queried whether he had grounded his club.
It would have torn the heart out of young player still getting over his final round meltdown at the US Open.
Johnson had hit his tee shot into the crowd, coming to rest in a trampled area that was barely recognisable as a bunker. Tournament officials had given notice to players that such areas were still operation bunkers.
“I don’t know if I can describe it,” Johnson said shortly afterwards. “You know, walking up there, seeing the shot, it never once crossed my mind that I was in a sand trap. I guess it’s very unfortunate. I guess the only worse thing that could have happened is if I made that putt on the last hole. I never once thought that I was in a sand trap.”
It had already been a topsy turvy final day with as many as 10 players still in contention with just nine holes to play.
One of them was 47 year old Aussie Steve Elkington who gave the tournament a big shake and was joint leader on 11 under after the 16th.
His three iron on the par three 17th glided past the flag and just plopped over the edge of a steep embankment at the back of the green. He made bogey and 18 was no place to hope for a birdie recovery.
The 1995 champion was left rueing the lost opportunity, starting with a missed four metre eagle putt on the 16th that would have given him the outright lead.
“I hit a real good putt that looked like it went through the hole. That was agony, to be honest with you painful, ” Elkington said.
Jason Day also threatened and was just one shot off the lead on the front nine before fading to a two-over round of 74 to finish at seven-under, four behind the leaders and two behind Elkington.
Overnight leader Nick Watney tightened up in the final round as he made double bogey on the par-four first hole and had a bogey on the fourth. Things only got worse.
Phil Mickelson had the best early round of the day, carding a five-under 67 but in the end it was not enough to unseat Tiger Woods from the World No 1 spot. Woods finished at T28 on 2 under.