THE 2005 CHAMPION
Excerpted from The 87th PGA Championship - Baltusrol 2005
Photography by James N. Lum
Commentary by Tony Cicatiello & Rick Jenkins
Late on Sunday afternoon, the skies darkened and then lightning snapped across the sky to the north of Baltusrol. It would be the first Monday finish at the PGA Championship in 19 years.
On Monday, Steve Elkington, then Thomas Bjorn, came to the 554-yard closing hole at 3 under par, with a chance to birdie. Elkington’s putt grazed the left edge of the cup from 10 feet. Bjorn pulled his second shot into the left bunker and blasted to 20 feet; his putt looked good all the way until it caught the inside edge of the cup and spun out.
Mickelson was 247 yards away, some 10 yards behind the fairway plaque that commemorates the 1-iron Jack Nicklaus hit to the green in the 1967 U.S. Open. Phil tapped it twice with his 4-wood for good luck, but the shot came up short and right in grass that covered the tops of his shoes.
The flop came out of that thick grass perfectly, and Mickelson raised his arms and lightly pumped his fist twice, knowing he had just executed the shot that would win him the 87th PGA Championship. The birdie putt of three feet was a formality.
“It was a shot that I struggled with out of the rough this week,” Mickelson said. “I tried to remember some of the shots I hit as a kid in my backyard.” With a birdie on the 72nd hole that took him to 4-under par, Mickelson won Baltusrol’s first PGA Championship by one stroke, writing another dramatic chapter in Baltusrol’s major championship lore.