U.S. PGA Championship Review
Brooks Koepka completed a double-dip at the 100th U.S. PGA Championship. With his win at the 2018 U.S. PGA Championship, the American is the first golfer since Jordan Spieth in 2015 to win two majors in one year, writes Louie Chan.
Brooks Koepka completed a double-dip at the 100th U.S. PGA Championship to become the first golfer since Jordan Spieth in 2015 to win two Majors in one year.
Brooks Koepka started Sunday ahead of 10 players within four shots off the lead. Tiger Woods created roars, defending champion Justin Thomas challenged and Adam Scott pulled even. However, Koepka held off all challengers at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
With his 264, Koepka set the record for the lowest 72-hole score in a PGA Championship. David Toms had the record with his 265 in 2001. Moreover, Koepka is the fifth player in history to win the U.S. Open and the U.S. PGA Championship in the same year, along with Gene Sarazen (1922), Ben Hogan (1948), Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Tiger Woods (2000).
Even with Tiger and Scott pushing Koepka, the 28-year-old didn't falter. He went 33 on the front 9 and then holed pars five holes in a row. With the solo lead no longer his when Scott birdied No. 13, Koepka answered with birdies of his own on the 15th and 16th to regain the solo lead for good.
“You could hear a different roar every 30 seconds, so we knew what was going on. It’s pretty obvious when Tiger makes a birdie. The energy in that place was unbelievable,” said Koepka. Everywhere Koepka walked, Tigermania was in full fever on the other side of the ropes, thousands upon thousands frantic to see history. That included the guys in red shirts with the words, “Make Sunday great again”.
All that makes a hard and treacherous landscape for a man in the lead on Sunday at a major. However, none of that stopped him. Not the pressure, nor the humidity, nor Bellerive. Not even Woods shooting 64, the ground was shaking with each of his eight birdies.
It was Tiger Tiger’s crowd. Tiger’s main stage. Tiger’s obvious statement that there is still a lot he might be capable of doing. However, he finished two shots behind. It was Brooks Koepka’s PGA Championship. “It’s kind of pushes you to step up your game,” Koepka said after he held off Woods, “because you know he’s right there if you fall.”
In posting his lowest three consecutive rounds at a major (66-66-64) and lowest weekend score at a major (10-under 130) - as in ever - the 14-time major champion would finish second, his best showing at a major since his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship in 2009. Woods led at Carnoustie with eight holes to play last month (he lost his lead by going double-bogey, bogey), and at the PGA, following a horrific start (3-over through two holes), he worked his way high up onto the leaderboard over the weekend and stayed there.
“I didn't drive it good all day,” Woods said. “I was struggling with my golf swing. I warmed up hitting it left, I was hitting it right with every single club, even my sand wedge I wasn't doing very good. So, I knew this was going to be a struggle to try and piece together a round, and I did.”
Yes, he did, and the masses who followed his every movement relished every second. It was hot, and Woods turned up the heat. Sure, the course was soft and conducive to scoring this week, but this was the old Tiger, and little boys watching atop their fathers’ shoulders will always remember what they saw.
Stewart Cink plays his shot from the 1st tee during the final round of the 2018 U.S.PGA Championship