Coming into the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits there were a myriad of storylines to watch for. From Tiger trying to finally get back to form to Rory McIlroy finally coming back from an ankle ligament injury he suffered in early July, the 2015 PGA Championship drew significantly more attention than usual as the last major championship of the golf season. Aussie Jason Day, despite being considered one of the favorites coming in as well as being one of the best golfers on tour, ended up just lying in the weeds as one of the secondary storylines coming in. Day, known best for his consistency, was a model of just that, shooting 68, 67, 66 and a final round 67 to finish at 20 under par. Not only outlasting now world number 1 Jordan Spieth by 3 strokes, but breaking the record of best score relative to par in major championship history, outdoing Tiger’s 19 under par score at St. Andrews in 2000. But more importantly however shedding the title of best currently on tour to not have won a Major Championship, a title he seemingly used to share with Dustin Johnson and a few others.
When speaking to the press after his round on Saturday Day referred to possibly winning on Sunday as “delayed gratification.” Which looking back on those comments seems to be a very appropriate way of describing his win this weekend. With his name at the top of the leaderboard seemingly every major it just seemed like a matter of time until he would finally break through to win a major championship. From the 2011 Masters when it looked like for a couple holes late on Sunday he was the man to beat only to have Charl Schwartzel run off 4 straight birdies in an unlikely comeback win, to the Open Championship this year when he left short a putt on the 72nd hole the would have put him in a 4 way playoff with eventual champion Zach Johnson and two others. Day’s career has been filled with a long line of disappointments and close calls at Major Championships. And while Jason himself would probably admit his frustration over it taking this long, that probably makes this one all that much more sweet. In tears after finally sealing it on 18, this to Day was a culmination of years of improvement and hard work.
Not to be overshadowed, the PGA Championship was the finale of an all time great year for the twenty two year old phenom Jordan Spieth. Like Day he too broke a record of Tigers’ finishing with the lowest total aggregate score to par in majors for a year in golf history, with a combined 54 under par in 2015 majors, breaking Tiger’s record of 53 under par in 2000. Spieth came into Sunday facing a 2 shot deficit and shot a highly respectable 68 that included a couple of great bunker saves. And while he was within 2 of the lead through 4 he was never given a real opportunity by Day whose consistency on Sunday was Tiger-like birdying all 4 par 5’s and only making 2 5’s all day, slowly building on the 2 shot lead he had after 54 holes and never relinquishing it once. Despite losing by 3 shots Spieth played about as well as he possibly could over 4 days, but was just beaten by a better man this weekend.
After being away from Golf for over two months, Rory McIlroy was still able to card a final round 69 to finish at 9 under and 17th in the Championship, and you can expect to see him, Spieth, Day, and all the rest battling it out at Majors for years to come.
But this weekend was all about Jason Day who conquered Whistling Straits to deliver one of the best Major Championship performances we have seen in a while.
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