Brooks Koepka Wins PGA Championship

It was ultimately an anti-climactic finish at the PGA Championship.
When Brooks Keopka putted for par on the 18th hole Sunday, he knew that he had won. Tiger Woods’ latest chase ended a few minutes earlier, albeit with a birdie on the final hole, but he never truly threatened the leader. Keopka went out in 33, 4 under par for the day, and nearly widened the gap with a birdie putt on that 18th hole. He settled for a par, and became the fifth golfer ever – after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods – to win both the US Open and PGA Championship in the same year.
Koepka entered the final round with a 2 stroke lead over Adam Scott, leading them to be paired as the last group for Sunday play. Koepka recovered after some early bogeys on holes 4 and 5, finishing the front nine with three straight birdies to move to 14-under for the tournament. He managed to hold off the ever present Tiger, who was playing a group or two behind with the bulk of the roving crowd following his play, and his playing partner Scott, whose hope for an eagle to challenge for a playoff ended with a poor drive off the 18th tee. 
The sports media has been waiting for Tiger to come back. It’s been a long 10+ years since he last won a major, and it’s been years since he’s even been considered a consistent threat in regular tournaments, let alone the sports’ majors. But after chasing – and ultimately failing – in the Open Championship a few weeks ago, people questioned whether he was truly back, or if this was just another strong showing before he is inevitably breaks down again. It remains to be seen if Tiger will be stalking the greens at Augusta for the Masters in April, or if he will make the cut as a captain’s choice for the upcoming Ryder Cup in September.
He started the final round tied for sixth at 8-under par, 4 strokes behind Koepka, and gained two strokes with early birdies on holes 2 and 3, and Koepka himself closed that gap with his aforementioned bogeys, leaving Tiger two strokes back as he approached the 6th tee. Unfortunately, a bogey there, as well as Koepka redeeming his round with a strong front nine finish, really made it difficult for Tiger to chase him down. Tiger got as close as a stroke off the lead, but another bogey on the 14th sealed his fate, though he did finish second, his strongest showing in a major since he finished 2nd at the 2009 PGA Championship.
As previously mentioned, Koepka won his second major this year, and should be considered a favorite for the upcoming FedEx Cup, not to mention the Ryder Cup. Tiger was all but begging for inclusion on the Ryder Cup team as well, and it will be up to Team Captain Jim Furyk to add him as a captain’s pick since he didn’t qualify otherwise. He finished in 11th place in the Ryder Cup standings – behind Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson – so he has some competition for one of the four captain’s picks, so he has to hope for continued strong performance in his upcoming tournaments.
The Tiger Major Watch will be postponed until April at next year’s Masters, so we should celebrate the actual winner of the tournaments at hand. Congratulations to Brooks Koepka on another major championship, and good luck in the FedEx Cup playoffs and at the Ryder Cup!
Until next time…

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