2005 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
IN REVIEW - LEFTY TAKES SECOND MAJOR
August 12, 2005 - LEFTY SHOOTS 65, LEADS PGA -
Phil Mickelson playing in the morning on a course which he likes
worked his way to a five under, 65, taking charge of the year’s
last major, The PGA Championship, being played at Baltusrol in Springfield,
New Jersey. The 65, coupled with yesterday’s 67 takes him
to eight under, 132 and four shots up on South African, Rory Sabbatini,
American veteran, Davis Love III and Britain’s, Lee Westwood.
Those going out in the morning dominated the leaderboard and at
2 PM the top eleven scores were finished, in the clubhouse. Then
out of no where came Jerry Kelly in the PM who also shot 65 to go
with his opening round 70 good enough for second alone at minus
5. He will be paired in the last group with Lefty tomorrow.
Mickelson’s round was not without its typical, dramatic ups
and downs. He started on the outward nine and proceeded to birdie
11, 13, 14 and 17 prior to posting an eagle on 18 to finish the
first nine at five under, 31. He then goes to the 478 yard, par
four, number one hole and posts a double bogey six. He then birdied
three, five and eight. His bogies came at 16 and six. He obviously
came real close to a possible real low 61 or 62.
Other scores of note include Vijay Singh who shot a three under
67 and stands at minus three, Stuart Appleby, the Aussie, who was
even today and is minus three overall, Brit, Greg Owen who was one
under today and stands at minus three and Jesper Parnavik, the Swede
who shot 69 today to put him at minus three. South African Retief
Goosen ranked fifth in the world stayed in the game with an even
par day and is minus two overall. An emotional, frustrated Tiger
Woods birdied 18 to squeeze by the four over cut line and qualify
for the weekend play.
August 13, 2005 - THOMAS BJORN JUMPS INTO CONTENTION AT
PGA - Dane Thomas Bjorn found some magic in his bag today
as he went out and posted eight birdies with a lone bogey for a
seven under 63 as he played catch up at the 87th PGA Championship
at Baltusrol in Springfield, New Jersey. Standing at five under
he enters tomorrow’s final round one shot behind third round
leaders, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III. Bjorn’s 63 ties
the course record recorded by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf in
Mickelson who had teed off with a four shot lead struggled early
with three bogies on the front side then settled to play even on
his last 11 holes. Davis fashioned a respectful two under 68, his
third in three rounds to get to six under. Good friends Mickelson
and Love will play in the last pairing tomorrow and as Davis put
it in the media room, “I enjoy playing with Phil, and his
caddie Jim is a good friend but there is a PGA Championship is at
stake and all friendships are aside.”
There is a good number of very competitive tourists who have a shot
on Sunday including No. 1 ranked, Tiger Woods, who shot a four under
66 today to get to even par. The contenders include Stuart Appleby
(-4), Steve Elkington (-4), Pat Perez (-4) and Vijay Singh (-4).
Ben Curtis shot three under and is minus three for the tourney as
is Retief Goosen after a 69.
I was struck by Davis Love’s demeanor today. He seemed relaxed,
determined and in control. He says his back is not a problem this
week and he seems in a zone, not concerned about the crowds or the
TV cameras. By contrast Lefty seemed to be thinking too much. Each
and every shot seemed to be overly crucial to Phil. Then there is
Tiger letting it all hand out with nothing to lose. Vijay is stalking
while Goosen is very much in the tournament.
August 14, 2005 - PLAY SUSPENDED AT PGA - MICKELSON MAINTAINS
LEAD - With leader Phil Mickelson facing a 3½ foot
putt for par on the 14th hole to maintain his one shot lead over
Steve Elkington the horn sounded to end play this evening at the
87th PGA Championship, this one in Springfield, New Jersey at famed
Baltusrol. Elkington was preparing to tee off on the 16th and will
return there tomorrow morning at 10 AM eastern daylight time for
a resumption of play.
If you hit your driving club from a tee on the closely mown teeing
ground and the ball sails over trees or into ankle deep rough, is
that a difficult course set up or is that poor play? If you have
a putt with a bit of a break to it but from only seven or eight
feet and you miss, once, twice or three times in nine holes, is
that a difficult course set up or is that poor play. If you are
continually gouging shots out of cabbage around putting greens because
you missed the green from 170 yards, is that a difficult course
set up or is that poor play? Now if the top golfers in the world
are doing this repeatedly is it because they are choking, overcome
by heat or whatever else could be the excuse. Well, in my opinion,
we saw some of the best in the world today, choking their way around
the Lower Course at Baltusrol. Granted the course was playing much
more difficult but when you hit your tee shots into the woods the
course set up doesn’t come into play, or does it?
Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III went out last with the lead and
proceeded to bogey hole after hole. At conclusion tonight, Davis
had gone four over through 14 holes and Lefty had squandered two
shots to par. Elkington playing with a Lady Luck on his shoulder
had played the front nine one under par and was looking really in
control. Tiger Woods birdied 17 and 18 to get to -2 in the clubhouse
and only two shots behind. Tiger keeps gaining on the leaders because
they keep going his way.
Those still in contention include Thomas Bjorn, Vijay Singh, Retief
Goosen, Pat Perez and anyone under par when the horn sounded to
end play. We’ll be back tomorrow and try and sort this all
August 15, 2005 - MICKELSON CAPTURES SECOND MAJOR
- The prestigious Wanamaker Trophy is Lefty’s, at least for
a year, as he hung in over the last four plus holes this morning
as the fourth round which was suspended last evening due to threatening
weather was completed. Play was resumed at 10:05 AM with sixteen
golfers left on the course and Tiger Woods waiting in the wings
for a possible playoff. As play resumed Mickelson stood at -4 with
a three foot putt for par on the 14th green. Chasers included Steve
Elkington at -3 through 15, Thomas Bjorn also -3 but through 14,
Davis Love playing with Phil at -2, Vijay Singh at -2 through 15,
Retief Goosen at -1 through 16 and Pat Perez at even par through
14 and all others still on the course were out of contention. Tiger
was in the clubhouse at -2 following his 68.
After a couple of bogies and birdies by the leaders it all came
down to 18 where Lefty at -3 had to make birdie at the reachable
par five to win. His drive was center cut but he hit his approach
with a four metal wood off to the right seemingly playing for a
kick back toward the hole. His ball didn’t cut and landed
then hid in the long stuff down a slope, 25 paces from the flag.
Elkington and Bjorn watched on television from the locker room as
they also stood -3 needing Mickelson to make par in order to get
in a playoff. With a wedge Mickelson gouged the ball out of the
cabbage and watched as it hit softly and trickled to within two
feet and a tap in for the win. The New York/New Jersey crowd cheered
wildly as they have certainly adopted Lefty as one of their own.
Mickelson later said he “just thought of similar shots I practice
at home in my backyard and just did what I practice”. Bingo!
Mickelson now has his second major and the others should come a
tad bit easier than this one. He had clearly struggled mentally
over the last two rounds trying to hang on to the lead he established
in the first two rounds. His destiny now is for greatness as the
wins will mount. He is one of the two most popular golfers with
the golf fans in America as he shares that perch with Tiger Woods.
In fact, he just might be the most popular. More major wins will
only solidify that position. See my article “Mickelson - How
Good Can He Be?”
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