Evan Vucci, Associated Press
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald left The Ocean Course without a major and without the No. 1 ranking.
Donald had been No. 1 in the world since late May when he took the top spot from Rory McIlroy. The 23-year-old McIlroy regained the No. 1 position Sunday with an eight-stroke victory in the PGA Championship.
This was supposed to be the season the 34-year-old Donald shed the mantle of best player without a major. Instead, Donald was left shaking his head and knowing he won't get his next chance until the Masters at Augusta National in eight months.
"I've won twice this year but I look at this year as somewhat of a disappointment in terms of the majors," Donald said.
Donald never truly contended early on as he tied for 32nd at the Masters back in April, then missed the cut in the U.S. Open. He rallied at the British Open to finish fifth and had hoped he could be in the mix at The Ocean Course. Instead, Donald took himself out of contention with rounds of 74, 76 and 74. He recovered Sunday to shoot 66, but far too late to catch McIlroy. Donald finished at 2 over — 15 shots behind the winner.
"You always gear your season up to peak at these events and I haven't quite figured that out yet," he said.
PETTERSON'S PROBLEM: Carl Pettersson kept himself at or near the top all week long at the PGA Championship. If only he'd had a leaf blower in his golf bag.
Pettersson's chance for his first major championship ended early when he grazed a leaf with his backswing while hitting out of a lateral water hazard. Pettersson was given a two-stroke penalty that turned his opening par into a double-bogey 6 that he couldn't recover from.
The rules of golf state you can't move a loose impediment lying in the hazard.
"I've got to take it on the chin, obviously, but it's one of those stupid rules," he said.
Pettersson was quickly told he may have broken the rule, but officials wanted to check the videotape. Rules chairman David Price confirmed the violation and told Pettersson he had incurred the penalty. Price came to the scorer's trailer after Pettersson's round and told the player officials were sure the ruling was correct. Pettersson said he would accept the decision. "They wouldn't lie," he said. "I mean, they said they looked at it a million times."
Pettersson tried not to let the penalty affect his game and made three straight birdies on the front to keep pace with McIlroy, one of his playing partners. But Pettersson eventually ran out of gas and finished with a 72 for a 4-under 284, tied for third with last year's PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. The group was nine shots behind champion Rory McIlroy, but Pettersson would've finished alone in second without the penalty.
Petterson said he won't worry about what the mistake cost him. "I've got to look at the positives," he said. "I had a great week. I had a chance to win. Just didn't do it. And we'll give it a shot next year."
MORE PENALTIES: Carl Pettersson wasn't the only player who broke the rules of golf at the PGA Championship.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson was assessed a one-stroke penalty on the 18th hole — his ninth hole of the final round — when his ball moved after he addressed it. Johnson told officials, who looked at the video and couldn't find conclusive evidence the ball had moved.
Still, Johnson was convinced and took the penalty. He was credited with a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th hole and a 79 for the round.
Joost Luiten, a 26-year-old European Tour pro playing his first PGA Championship, was also docked a stroke when he struck a short putt twice with his putter on the 16th hole as he finished his third round Sunday morning.
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