Whistling Straits getting last laugh on 18th

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Several pros mocked Whistling Straits' 18th hole after the 2004 PGA Championship, saying it seemed contrived and had too small a green.

Fuzzy Zoeller called the 500-yard par-4 "a joke" and added, "There's nothing good about it."

Now it's all good.

Architect Pete Dye expanded the fairway, allowing players to try to bomb it over the giant bunker complex on the left. Steve Stricker used the new strip of fairway as a lay-up area in the first round — and got up-and-down for par after a gorgeous wedge shot from 142 yards.

Dye also recontoured the clover-shaped green. That allowed Tiger Woods to attempt — and pull off — an incredible shot to close out his second round.

Seemingly stymied in a narrow bunker 212 yards from the hole, Woods cut a 5-wood and landed it on the front of the green. The shot was so impressive, Woods got a half-hug from caddie Steve Williams.

"I had no play straight," Woods said. "I had to play a slice (because of) the stance — and pulled it off."

Woods came up inches short on his 45-foot birdie try.

Bogey: The Euros. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open, and Europeans claimed four of the top five spots at the British Open. (The fifth: South African champion Louis Oosthuizen.) But the Americans, led by Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson, have rebounded at the PGA Championship, and that could bode well for the Yanks' Ryder Cup chances in October.

Eagle: Tom Lehman, the 2010 Senior PGA champion, has made the only ace of the PGA Championship, using a 4-iron to take down the 217-yard 17th hole. In the 2004 PGA at Whistling Straits, Robert Gamez (17th) and Hale Irwin (seventh) recorded holes-in-one.

Double bogey: Padraig Harrington. Needing only to bogey the 18th to make the cut, he chunked a hybrid 4-iron into the water hazard, made 6 and missed his third major cut of the year. With no tournaments left to earn Ryder Cup points, Harrington will need Colin Montgomerie to spend one of his three captain's picks on him. "I hope Monty looks things through and sees stats — 16 top-10s in the last year," Harrington said.

Birdie: Rob Labritz. The teaching pro from Bedford Hills, N.Y., shot 73-71 to become the only PGA club professional out of 20 to make the cut.

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