The other Australian won the 1990 PGA Championship Sunday. His name is Wayne Grady, not to be confused with his more celebrated countryman, Greg Norman, whose exotic nickname, seven-digit earnings and gleaming smile are known worldwide.
But now they have at least something else in common: an equal number of major championships--one. Grady won his while Norman, who had finished earlier in the day, was airborne in his private jet. Nationalism being what it is, Norman even phoned the Shoal Creek media building from his plane in search of a Grady update.
"How's my mate doing?" said Norman, who also had left a note in Grady's locker before leaving.
Told that Grady led Fred Couples by three strokes with only a hole left to be played, Norman became a cheerleader at 20,000 feet.
"Well, tell him to go get it," he said.
Grady, who led by two strokes after Saturday's round, did just that. He plunked his drive to the middle of the 18th fairway, knocked a seven-iron to the center of the green and two-putted for a par and a championship. A bit unsure as to what to do next, he hugged his playing partner Payne Stewart, the defending PGA winner, who told him, "Congratulations. This is going to change your life." Grady then hugged his caddie and stood there, numbed by it all.
"It's the longest day in my life," he said. "It just seemed to go on and on forever."
Only about 24 hours earlier, Grady had predicted that if he shot under par during the final round, he would be a difficult person to beat. He was right. His one-under 71 and 282 tournament total placed him comfortably ahead of Couples (par 72, 285) and Gil Morgan (par 72, 286). No one else was even close. Only only three of the 74 players left from the cut finished below par.
Stewart, who trailed Grady by two shots at day's start, was only a slight factor by the fifth hole, when he dropped six strokes back. Any chance of a miracle finish ended at No. 11, when he took eight strokes to play the 516-yard par-five hole. He finished with a 79.
"Hey, at least I broke 80," Stewart said.
Next to falter was Morgan, who was within two strokes of the lead when he recorded a double bogey on No. 13, a 195-yard par three. An errant tee shot into a greenside bunker was "the biggest mistake of the tournament," Morgan said.
He bogeyed No. 16, parred Nos. 17 and 18 "and then threw up."
Couples' decline was much more dramatic. As did Stewart, he trailed Grady by only two shots entering Sunday's round. Couples whittled the lead to one stroke after nine holes and overtook Grady with a birdie on No. 12.
But then he bogeyed the next four holes, missing demanding but makeable short putts on three of them. A one-stroke Couples lead became a three-stroke deficit. "It just happened so fast, it's kind of sickening," he said.
Grady needed only to avoid disaster to win. Of course, that is easier said than done.
A little more than a year ago, Grady had begun the fourth round of the British Open at Troon with a lead. He stretched it to three strokes after five holes but bogeyed Nos. 10, 14 and 17, was forced into a playoff and lost. The experience, though dulled partially by time, was evident Sunday at Shoal Creek.
"Until I hit my second shot on the 18th green, I didn't allow myself get ahead of things," Grady said. "I was very disappointed with the British Open last, although I didn't let it affect me."
Grady later revised his comments, acknowledging that Sunday's round was especially trying "because of the memory of Troon."
He had his chances to fold under pressure. After sinking a 60-foot birdie putt on the first hole, he stepped up to the No. 2 tee, pulled out a three-wood and shanked his shot into a tree 40 yards away. Bogey.
Eventually, Grady made his way back to seven-under, where he stayed until No. 12. A bogey, combined with Couples' birdie, temporarily pushed Grady out of the lead. "That was starting to put pressure on (me)," he said. "I thought, 'Here we go again.' But then (Couples) helped me out."
This is Grady's second victory since joining the tour six years ago. It has been a career often eclipsed by Norman, who belonged to the same club in Queensland, Australia, as Grady.
From there, Norman became ranked the No. 1 player in the world. Grady simply tried to stay out of the shade of Norman's considerable shadow.
Now they each own a major championship, a fact not entirely lost on Grady.
"Obviously, it doesn't make me as good as Greg," Grady said. "I've got as many majors as he has, but he's won 55 other tournaments."
But Grady will take tour win victory No. 2 and cherish it, the $225,000 first prize and an engraved place on the PGA Championship trophy.
" . . . There are some great players on this (PGA Championship) trophy," he said. "And no matter how hard you scratch that thing, you're not going to get my name off it."
Nick Faldo shot Sunday's low round of 69, but still finished 13 total strokes behind Wayne Grady. Now comes news that he has played the last several months with sore wrists. He said he will have a specialist look at them today. "I need to rest them," he said. "They're just stressed out, that's all there is." Asked to comment on his week, he said, "Blah. I'm glad it's over."
Payne Stewart, whose ball landed next to a tree on No. 12, had to listen to ABC commentator Bob Rosburg tell a national television audience that the only shot he had was hitting it left-handed. Stewart turned around and said, "That's right, Bob. That is the only shot I have."
THE TOP 11 Wayne Grady: 72-67-72-71--282
Fred Couples: 69-71-73-72--285
Gil Morgan: 77-72-65-72--286
Bill Britton: 72-74-72-71--289
Billy Mayfair: 70-71-75-74--290
Loren Roberts: 73-71-70-76--290
Chip Beck: 71-70-78-71--290
Don Pooley: 75-74-71-72--292
Tim Simpson: 71-73-75-73--292
Mark McNulty: 74-72-75-71--292
Payne Stewart: 71-72-70-79--292
COMPLETE RESULTS C15