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Martin Kaymer wins 2010 PGA Championship in playoff

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — It's the PGA Championship that will be remembered as much for the player who didn't get into the three-hole playoff as the two who did. But that's not Martin Kaymer's fault.

On Sunday at Whistling Straits, the German closed with 2-under 70 that was punctuated by a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hole.

Then he came back from a shot down after the first extra hole, first with a tying birdie on No. 17 then a two-putt bogey at the 18th. That gave him a one-stroke victory over Bubba Watson and his first major.

So, two decades from now, what else will really matter?

"I was very calm, very confident," said Kaymer, 25, who joins Bernhard Langer (Masters in 1985, '93) as the only German men with grand slam victories. "It's amazing. … For me, at the moment, I don't realize what just happened. I've got goose bumps just talking about it."

Six players had a share of the lead at some point, and six players were separated by one shot over the final 30 minutes.

And it would have been a three-way playoff, except that Dustin Johnson, who birdied 16 and 17 to go up by a stroke, closed with bogey that became triple bogey after he had to add two strokes for grounding his club in a bunker just before hitting his second shot.

So it came down to Kaymer and the ridiculously long-hitting Watson, who shot 68 to finish at 11-under 277 in regulation.

One shot behind in the playoff after the 10th hole, Kaymer made a 15-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 17th then watched Watson implode on 18.

Watson went from the right rough into the water, then over the green into a bunker. His bunker shot hit the flag, and he tapped in for double bogey.

Kaymer chipped out after seeing Watson go in the water, and he hit 7-iron to 15 feet for a two-putt bogey. That allowed him to put his name on the Wanamaker Trophy.

"I was very nervous on the last three to four holes of the regular play," said Kaymer, whose lone bogey in regulation came at the 15th hole, when he missed a 7-foot par putt. "On the playoff holes, I was very calm. It was amazing, really."

Kaymer earned $1.35 million for the win, went to third in the Ryder Cup standings for Europe and moved to a career-best No. 5 in the world.

It's the second time in three years that only one major went to an American, that being Phil Mickelson at the Masters.

Watson, a native of the Florida Panhandle town of Bagdad, didn't seem too upset by the ending. He earned a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first time.

"I made a bad swing," he said. "Winning would have been great, but (making the American squad) was all that mattered to me. … It was a weird day, obviously. You know, I wasn't on anybody's radar this morning. And I got a chance. I just put my head down and played about as good of golf as I could and tried to grind out a good finish.

"It's very heartbreaking to hear about Dustin Johnson. That's upsetting. He just made a mistake. I feel for him. It didn't seem right."

Nick Watney was ahead by three strokes after 54 holes, the only one in the field with three rounds in the 60s. But he shot 81 and tied for 18th.

Zach Johnson (70) missed the playoff by one. So did Rory McIlroy (72), coming off a third at the British Open, but his putter let him down.

A lot of guys were in position to be the last one standing. Only Kaymer got it done.

"I just wanted to give myself a chance to win," he insisted. "I was trying to avoid looking at the leaderboard on the front nine. When I (finally) did, I said to my caddy, 'That's the first time I've led a major in my career. It's a pretty good feeling.' "

Even better when still being there when it counts.

"I just tried to play golf," he said. "I was trying to enjoy the atmosphere out there. I was just trying to avoid stupid mistakes. …

"It's a very nice feeling to have a (gimme) putt like that to win. I should really have thought about that moment, but I knew I wasn't going to miss."

Martin Kaymer wins 2010 PGA Championship in playoff 08/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 16, 2010 12:27am]
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