The last time Baltusrol staged the US PGA Championship in 2005, Thomas Bjorn equalled the lowest score in major championship history on his way to finishing second.
But anyone asking the 45-year-old Dane to recount the details of that brilliant achievement ahead of the tournament’s return to the New Jersey venue this week will be in for some serious disappointment.
“It’s funny,” Bjorn said. “I read the other week it was going back to Baltusrol and I hadn’t really thought about it. Then I started thinking about that 63 and I remember nothing!
“I remember nothing from the round because all my memories are about Sunday and going into Monday and playing those few holes on Monday morning.”
For the record, Bjorn’s seven-under-par 63 in the third round was achieved via birdies on the second, fourth and fifth, a bogey on the seventh and further birdies on the 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 18th.
It left him a shot behind Phil Mickelson and Davis Love heading into the final round, which was not completed on Sunday for the first time since 1986 due to a thunderstorm.
Tiger Woods had managed to set the clubhouse target on two under par before play was suspended with the leader Mickelson facing a par putt on the 14th green to remain four under.
With Baltusrol’s last three holes consisting of a 230-yard par three and par fives measuring 650 and 554 yards anything was still possible, but Woods had seen enough and — in a heavily criticised move — flew home to Florida on Sunday evening.
Twelve players returned to the course on Monday morning and Bjorn resumed in the rough on the 15th and made bogey, but birdied the 17th and came to the last tied for the lead with Steve Elkington — who had completed a 71 — and Mickelson.
“I remember the birdie on 17 and I hit a really good drive on the last,” Bjorn added. “I had used a seven wood all week which came in handy so much — normally I had a five wood in the bag and it was a perfect five wood on the 18th to that elevated green.
“I couldn’t get there with a seven wood so had to try and hit a soft three wood and it came out a little bit low and went into that back bunker. The only time I needed a five wood was on that hole unfortunately, but the seven wood was so good the rest of the week so I wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t had it for the early part of the week.”
After splashing out to 25 feet, Bjorn saw his birdie putt agonisingly lip out and added: “I hit a putt on 18 that couldn’t miss and I still don’t know how it missed. I don’t think I will ever find out.”
In the group behind Mickelson’s birdie putt was from just two feet after a superb pitch from short of the green and the left-hander duly tapped in to condemn Bjorn to a third runners-up finish in the majors.
The first of those was saw Bjorn a distant eight shots behind Woods in the Open at St Andrews, but three years later the Dane famously led by three with four holes to play at Sandwich but then went bogey, double bogey, bogey and lost by one to the then unknown Ben Curtis.
“It wasn’t to be at Baltusrol but it was a big moment for me in the sense of what happened in 2003,” the world number 319 added.
“I felt like after a few years I could compete in a major championship again and felt like I could be there on a Sunday and handle myself in good way. Obviously you want to win but it was a really good and important week for me.
“It’s such a great course and it’s a shame I’m not there this year.”
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