After maneuvering through a round of golf this evening which made it abundantly clear that my lifelong dream of reaching the PGA Tour may no longer be an attainable goal, my thoughts quickly turned to pondering the most memorable duel I've witnessed in the game of golf in lieu of our memorable shoot-out tonight at the gettable(not for me) Joanne Goulet Golf Course in Regina, Saskatchewan.
2001 PGA Championship-Atlanta Athletic Club
This was the duel featuring two stalwarts of the PGA Tour including David Toms and Phil Mickelson. Now, at that point Mickelson although dominant in tour circles was still in search of that elusive major and Toms was a five time winner on tour before the major romp in Georgia. The final round match play strategy that was formulated amongst Toms and Mickelson made for captivating television. Although the narrative from this weekend will be always revolve around the two Sunday combatants, the fan favourite that had fans in Atlanta echoing his name was Shingo Katayama. Without being privy to the scorecards, it was one of the last par threes on the Saturday third round in which Katayama hit a low flyer in a hole surrounded by water and was given the great fortune of skipping the ball through the water onto the putting surface. The final hole of the championship was also noteworthy not just because it crowned Toms but because of the strategy used by the leader David. Toms, who held the one shot lead playing eighteen elected to lay up on the long, four hundred and ninety yard par four while his playing partner Mickelson successfully got on the green in two making his lay up attempt all that more risqué. Mickelson had a birdie putt and a chance to essentially force a playoff but in pre Masters Phil's repertoire, he missed the makeable putt allowing Toms close the deal with a par which as you can probably have guessed, left no stone unturned and salvaged his first and only major.