The rain came down in Kentucky and what followed was some exhilarating golf (although ultimately a tad anti-climactic) which saw the three leading contenders all standing around the last hoping that a moment of magic would happen to give them the chance to win the last major of the year, in the end the winner was Rory McIlroy, picking up his second major of the year.
One of the criticisms I have always had of McIlroy’s major wins is that he has never had to win one under adversity, well that is no longer the case as he at one point was 3 shots behind the leader and things looked less than good for him. I genuinely thought that when McIlory bogeyed the 6th he didn’t have a chance of winning because Stenson, Mickelson and Fowler all looked like they were playing too well and McIlroy was playing an absolute stinker. However at the turn all of that changed as he mishit (or so I think) his second into the 10th but got lucky as it rolled to a very makeable eagle putt, which he duly delivered. Pretty much after that eagle it felt that it took the wind out of the challenger’s sails as if the winner was now becoming inevitable, I don’t know why but McIlroy went from strength to strength and really should have scored better with the opportunities he was giving himself whereas everyone else just stalled and fell to pieces.
I think that McIlroy is the deserved winner because he played the best throughout the week and it adds to what has been a quite remarkable summer which has seen him win the British PGA, The Open, Bridgestone and now the PGA (and he should really have won the Scottish Open but shot an absolutely stinking second round). I personally am not a McIlroy fan but I can’t help but be impressed with how he played at Valhalla and how he has played this summer as well. McIlroy after becoming the first European to win 3 different majors has now helped Europe to another record as this is the first time that European’s have won three out of four of the majors, if Europe don’t win the Ryder Cup they’ll have made a right arse of themselves. Once again kids, it just shows you what you can achieve when you dump that girlfriend of yours. Never mind all this talk of where the relationship is going and handbags, just chuck her and you too will start winning in life!
Anyway looking at the main challengers I’m pretty sure a lot of them will be disappointed with not winning the PGA because it very much was there for the taking. Mickelson scrambled around for most of the day holing long putts and chipping like a god but he’ll be disappointed with the bogey on the 16th which turned out to be the shot that cost him a play-off (although I doubt McIlroy plays the last in that manner if he needs a birdie). Considering he hadn’t had a PGA top 10 all season I guess he can’t be too upset but Mickelson is running out of major chances and it is crazy to consider that in what has been one of the greatest careers in golf he has only won 5 majors (just one more than McIlroy).
Fowler has had a great season in the majors with top 5’s in all four but nobody remembers top 5’s, they remember the winners. Fowler had the lead for a number of holes and in my opinion looked like he was going to run away with it at about the halfway stage, but he seemed to get a bit gun shy and started playing really conservatively and in the end by the time he started going for it again it had got away from him. You have to believe that Fowler has majors in his future but everyone also thought that about Sergio Garcia and we all know how that’s going…
Henrik Stenson is the guy who I felt deserved to win this because his career deserves a major and so does the nation of Sweden. It was always going to be a huge ask for him to win it from 4 back and so it turned out to be. Stenson made a number of quality putts (with some nasty par saves) but in the end lost it with a sloppy putt on the 14th and not taking advantage of the 10th and 18th, very scorable par 5’s. Similarly to Fowler you have to think that Stenson will eventually win a major but it feels that he may be destined to always be a bridesmaid.
Beyond the three main competitors players like Jason Day and Bernd Weisberger must be so annoyed with themselves and their lack of play on the last day. Both men shot over par (the only two to do so in the top 29) which was inexcusable when the course was playing so damn soft and was there for the taking. When those around them were moving up the leader board both these men played like a couple of donkeys. I can accept poor play from Weisberger because he was totally out of place and somehow found himself in the last group of a major (in my opinion he was always going to be a non-event for the last day that McIlroy really went in with a 2 shot lead) but Day is an experienced and top golfer, he should really have done so much better than he actually did, very poor indeed.
Not a great week for my tips as not one paid out (gutted). They were Snedeker (13th), Day (15th), Westwood (15th), Zach Johnson (70th) and Spieth (cut). Sned’s was never really in contention but both Westwood and Day threatened to do something before inevitably falling away when it really mattered. I’ve already said what was disappointing about Day but more so that Day Westwood should have done better. Each day he very much threatened to do something but every day he ended up flattering to deceive, it was typical Westwood. In the end I wasn’t that far off but all in all I got jack shit from my tips, pretty disappointing overall.
It was a pretty good PGA championship which saw so many contenders step up on the last day only for Rory McIlroy to brush them aside to win his second major of the year. It’s been a pretty good year of golf and we still have the Ryder Cup to come and it’s in the home of golf (and my home too!) beautiful (on dry days [five per year on average]) Scotland!
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