Best ball striker wins the PGA

Published: Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 8:10 p.m. CDT

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Congratulations to Jason Dufner. What a terrific final round and a well deserved victory in the PGA Championship. 

My day was confined to one hole yet again, but this time it was No. 15, a 181-yard par 3 with a nasty pond front and right of the green. You may remember that the fans were allowed to pick the pin position there and, not surprisingly, it was the one nearest the water.

But Sunday at Oak Hill was very interesting in a lot of ways. It started with Phil Mickelson hitting the green side wall on 15 and bouncing over the pond to the side of the hospitality tents. From there he chipped up and made a 15-foot putt to save par. An hour later, before the 12.45 tee time had even put a peg (tee) in the ground, he was probably in the air on his way home. Playing with Stephen Gallacher, a fellow Scot, I am sure they wasted no time in completing their three-hour round and exiting the premises. A few hours later, Thorbjorn Oleson also hit the wall but bounced up on the green, making me reflect that Danish never goes well with water. Sorry about that one.

All in all, of the 75 players that played 15 on Sunday, just 5 players hit into the pond. Of these five, one, Tim Clark, had earlier made the tournament’s only hole in one on the 11th hole with a 3 Hybrid. Tim shared with me that he's had 14 holes in one now.

Sergio Garcia also hit into the water, but he chipped in from the drop area to save his par.

The predominant clubs hit on the hole were 6 and 7 irons, and approximately 70 percent of the players hit the green. These guys are good!

Overall, the tournament was a great success and terrific for the Rochester area. I can recommend visiting there any time you are in upstate N.Y. The people are very friendly, and it felt a lot like a Midwest town.

From a golfing perspective, the best player of the week won, or at least the best ball striker. All the players at this level strike the ball well, but it is their ability to control the distance that they hit the ball that is always amazing. In a way this was vindication for Dufner losing the PGA in 2011 at Atlanta AC to Keegan Bradley, and it was no coincidence that Keegan was there at the finishing hole to congratulate him.

Next week we are back to normal with the blog, but I am open to any questions, so let’s do a Q&A next week. Send your questions to me, Iansgolf@aol.com and i will do my best to answer them.

Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.

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