Tiger Woods finished second at this weekend’s PGA Championship.
But the biggest story of the day was the resurgence of Woods, who at one stage was just a shot out of the lead midway through the back nine.
Woods and Koepka played nine holes of a practice round on Wednesday, and the 14-time major champion knew what he was up against.
The old adage that nobody remembers who finishes second is nearly always born out in reality, but you get the sense that this will be far from the case when the story of the 100th PGA Championship is told. “I hit it good on the back nine. So I knew this was going to be a struggle to try and piece together a round and I did”.
Tiger Woods shot his best final round in a major, 6-under 64, to finish second – two strokes back. “But like I said, I bounced back fine and I still had a great chance”. He birdied five of the first eight holes then closed with 10 consecutive pars and finished four off the pace of Koepka, who took his second consecutive US Open triumph in June at Shinnecock.
At the year’s final major, he reiterated that claim. He started his round at 4-under for the tournament.
Woods broke with his own convention by waiting to warmly congratulate Koepka as the champion walked from the course. “And then Brooks hit it very close on 16 after making his on 15, and I was kind of up against it from there”.
The PGA Championship is never mentioned first in any discussion about which is the best of golf’s four major championships.
Brooks Koepka of U.S. acknowledges the crowd after making a putt for birdie on the ninth green during the final round of the 2018 PGA Championship.
However, Koepka was immune to the pressure and calmly went about his business. The fans, sensing that they were about to witness a part of history, were willing him on, chanting, “Let’s go Tiger, ” as if they were at a playoff baseball game rooting their team on to the World Series. “So I knew he was making noise and I was looking at the leaderboards, I always do on Sunday, because I want to know where I stand and what I need to do to win”.
Former KU All-American Ryan Vermeer sizes up the birdie putt he made on No. 8 at Bellerive on Friday in the 100th PGA as John Daly waits his turn.
“I got off to a really slow start, so I was not super-comfortable early in the round”, Scott said.
The 28-year-old, who is ranked 75th in the world, watched his tee shot pitch on the front fringe of the green before rolling in to huge roars from the galleries which could be heard around the course.
And yet Thomas and the rest of his Tour colleagues are very aware of just how special Koepka is, and how insane it is that someone with four PGA Tour wins has claimed three of the last six major titles.
The 14-time major victor fired his lowest final round in a major, a six-under par-64, on Sunday to finish second at the PGA Championship – and a career once seen as over might just have some magic left in it after all.
It says a lot about how far Ryan Fox has come this year at the pointy end of professional golf that there was a cool detachment, rather than any wild celebration, over his best ever performance at a major.
Deadlocked for the lead with Scott and only one stroke ahead of Woods, Koepka sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th and a six-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th then parred the last two holes to secure the victory.
“Brooks had chances on those couple of holes and missed, and I had chances and made them and got myself right in there”. He had to settle for a 69 and was eight shots behind, with 27 players in front of him. His third-round 62 showed that he was hitting the ball well, as did the $42,500 winner’s check he took him. But everything is trending in the right direction. “I don’t think it will be rocket science for [me] to figure out what’s missing, if anything”.