Aug
16
2010
Playoff Had (Muted) Ryder Cup-Like Atmosphere
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

I watched the playoff live even though my mood was dampened by the Dustin Johnson bunker debacle. I ended up standing next to Herb Kohler and Pete Dye behind the 18th green as Kaymer and Bubba putted out. Mr. Kohler didn’t seem very happy. In fact, I got the sense he was livid.

When I was watching the playoff, it occurred to me that this could be a little preview of match at the Ryder Cup (should have emphasized that more in my story). I’m pretty sure 99.9% of the gallery was pulling for Bubba — partly because the Wisconsinites didn’t seem to know much about Kaymer.

Here are some excerpts of my story via the Wall Street Journal:

Even though I never heard anyone yell, “Yeah, Kaymer!” the fans were still respectful and applauded loudly when deserved. As Kaymer and Watson walked toward the green, the crowded chanted, “USA, USA!” With the Ryder Cup being a subplot this week, perhaps this was a little preview of what’s to come in October.

[…]

I was sitting on the hill and just behind me was a boy, who couldn’t have been older than 10. Even though I knew the answer, I asked, “Who are you rooting for?” He said, “Bubba. I like him. And I don’t know anything about Kaymer.” [Ed note: This part of my story was omitted (not that I agree with the kid’s assessment): “Were you cheering for Dustin Johnson?” I asked him. “No. I don’t really like DJ. I heard he’s full of himself,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.]

[…]

At this point, it was over. Kaymer would be hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy. Too bad the Dustin Johnson debacle would overshadow Kaymer’s glory. I’m sure he’s fine with it, though. I quietly walked up around the green and up toward the clubhouse, where a group was watching from.

From that spot I was able to finagle an introduction to Herb Kohler, the mogul who owns Whistling Straits, as well as the course’s designer, Pete Dye. Both shook my hand politely. Standing next to them as Kaymer and Watson putted out, I wondered if Kohler and Dye were happy with what had transpired. For better or worse, people are likely to remember this PGA Championship for the course and the Johnson debacle more than for any of the particulars about how Kaymer won.

Read the full story here.

[Photo by Kyle Auclair/Insidetheropes.com]