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A chance to remember the 'War by the Shore'

There will be reminiscing this week at the Senior PGA Championship. It is inevitable, now that one of the biggest tournaments in senior golf heads to a venue made world famous because of the pain it inflicted during the 1991 Ryder Cup.

By BOB HARIG
Published May 22, 2007


There will be reminiscing this week at the Senior PGA Championship. It is inevitable, now that one of the biggest tournaments in senior golf heads to a venue made world famous because of the pain it inflicted during the 1991 Ryder Cup.

Yes, 16 years have passed, and the participants have moved on. But they haven't forgotten the "War by the Shore, " one of the most dramatic of all golf tournaments played at Pete Dye's beast, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C.

The U.S. Ryder Cup team captain from that year, Dave Stockton, will be joined in the field by 1991 team members Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Wayne Levi, Mark O'Meara and Lanny Wadkins. Seve Ballesteros, Mark James and Sam Torrance are the Europeans in the field.

"I've spoken to some of the '91 team who are playing in the Senior PGA, " Stockton said. "And we're all looking forward to reliving some of the amazing shots that were played. However, I will try to forget everything that I saw on No. 17."

There were many highlights in a tense week that ended with a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 U.S. victory - its first in the competition since 1983. But two stand out.

- The 17th hole. Mark Calcavecchia came to the treacherous par 3 with a 4-up lead over an unheralded but up-and-coming player from Scotland, Colin Montgomerie. Tie Monty on any of the remaining holes and the United States earns a point. But Calcavecchia collapsed and nowhere was it more painful than at the 220-yard 17th. Monty had won the previous two holes to pull within 2-down with two to play and had the honors - and hit his tee shot in the water. Game over? Nope, because Calcavecchia did the same thing. He ended up losing the hole and the 18th, which got the Europeans a much-needed half.

- The 18th hole. The Ryder Cup came down to the final match. The United States led 14 to 13 but needed a half point to win the Cup. Germany's Bernhard Langer and Irwin were tied with the final hole to play. Irwin had played poorly coming in and missed the green with his second shot, then hit an indifferent chip and missed his par putt and took a bogey 5. Langer had hit the green in two, and if he could make a par, the point would salvage a tie for the Europeans. But Langer ran his first putt by 6 feet, and then with all eyes trained on him, missed the par putt, setting off a wild celebration.

"When we played there in 1991, it was the most difficult course I'd ever seen or played, " Stockton said. "I'm looking forward to the total experience at Kiawah: remembering the vibes of the '91 Ryder Cup and the stresses that went along with it."

MOVING UP: Tampa's Ryuji Imada jumped from 166th to 113th in the Official World Golf Ranking with his second-place finish at the AT&T Championship on Sunday. A victory would have meant an automatic invitation to the Masters, but Imada, 30, can get to Augusta in other ways, such as by being among the top 50 in the world by the end of the year. Perhaps the best avenue is to be among the top 30 money winners. Imada is now 31st on the money list with $1, 083, 830.

Fast Facts:

 

Zach is back

When Zach Johnson, right, won the Masters last month, he was among the most unheralded winners in the tournament's history. You had to go back 20 years, to Larry Mize in 1987, to find a Masters champion who had won so infrequently before his victory at Augusta. Now Johnson has won again, and his victory at the AT&T Classic on Sunday - six weeks after the Masters - was the quickest of any Masters champion in the past 10 years. Johnson was part of a small group of Masters winners who had two victories or less before winning the Masters. The list and when they won again after the Masters:

Year Masters winner Next victory

1946 Herman Keiser 1946 Knoxville Invitational (five wins total)

1948 Claude Harmon 1950 Miami International (two wins total) Four-Ball

1971 Charles Coody Masters was final victory (three wins total)

1973 Tommy Aaron Masters was final victory (three wins total)

1979 Fuzzy Zoeller 1981 Colonial (10 wins total)

1987 Larry Mize 1993 Northern Telecom Open (four wins total)

2007 Zach Johnson 2007 AT&T Classic (three wins)