Brooks Koepka held off a thrilling challenge from Tiger Woods to win the 100th PGA Championship in St Louis on Sunday.
Koepka carded a closing 66 in a stunning final round to finish 16 under par and two shots ahead of Woods, joining the runner-up, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Open and US PGA in the same season.
After becoming the first player in 29 years to win back-to-back US Open titles in June, Koepka has now won three of his last six major starts, a wrist injury having forced him to sit out the Masters in April.
Here, we take a look at the five takeaways from the final major of the year.
Koepka shows his class
A fascinating year for the Florida man.
With a quality leaderboard breathing down his neck and the pressure of an advancing Woods, the 28-year-old held firm to shoot a scintillating 66 and clinch his third major and second of 2018.
The World No2 is shaping into a force, combining a devastating game off the tee with an razor-like short game. With another major to add to his mantelpiece, he now surely deserves serious recognition among the golf public after being underrated in the American game for so long.
Players like Jordan Spieth and Woods may be household names in the US, but Koepka certainly has a bright future in the game ahead of him. And with it being a Ryder Cup year, he has the chance to be one of Jim Furyk’s key lieutenants at Le Golf National next month as the Americans bid to defend their title on European soil.
Woods rises back to his best
An inspired showing from the American.
Woods began the final round four shots behind Koepka and was within a shot three times, but Koepka birdied the 15th and 16th before a wayward drive on the 17th cost Woods the chance of a birdie himself.
Remarkably, his 196 (66-66-64) in the last three rounds is his lowest score across three consecutive rounds in his major championship career.
It is still a stunning second-place finish for the 42-year-old who has recorded four top-five and four top-15 finishes in 2018, including a tie for sixth at the Open Championship last month
Winning a 15th major would be a fairytale way to seal one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history and recent form suggests he could well be in contention again in 2019.
Spieth’s disappointing year continues
The three-time major winner failed in his second quest to secure a career grand slam, finishing in a tie for 12th.
Although he may be disappointed to end the year without a major, the Texan showed signs of his remarkable talents with a final round 66 after three mixed rounds.
It’s been a mediocre year for the 24-year-old, with a disappointing ninth place at The Open where he held the lead after three rounds.
In addition, the right-hander has recorded two top-5, three top-10 and five top-25 finishes, including a win at the Tournament of Champions in January.
The results may be off his overall expectations, but if Spieth can replicate his final round form at Bellerive, then he could be a force for the FedEX playoffs and Ryder Cup.
It’s incredible how the American has been a favourite for every major this year but just can’t get the job done.
Fifth in gaining strokes off the tee this weekend, his normally classy iron and putting play was off colour and he was restricted to a T27 finish.
The World No1 was seven-under-par heading into the third round, but six bogeys and a double saw him move out of contention.
It perfectly summarises DJ’s season, with plenty of positives combined with a lot of negatives.
Another year without a major win for the best player in the world.
Poor TV coverage
Eleven Sports‘ coverage of the final major of the year proved to be a disaster, with an overload of commercials, poor commentary, bad shot selection of players and general production an embarrassment.
Their inconsistencies further proved how Sky Sports‘ production values remain unmatched, with nice shots always acknowledged if they are missed on camera at the time.
The producers even missed Koepka’s winning putt, with the link cutting out at midnight (3:00 UAE time).
Brooks Koepka has admitted he finds it hard to comprehend his place in golfing history after his dramatic victory in the 100th US PGA Championship.
Koepka carded a closing 66 in a breathless final round at Bellerive Country Club to finish two shots ahead of Tiger Woods, joining the runner-up, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Open and US PGA in the same season.
After becoming the first player in 29 years to win back-to-back US Open titles at Shinnecock Hills in June, Koepka has now won three of his last six major starts, a wrist injury having forced him to sit out the Masters in April.
“When I look at what I’ve done in the past two months, it’s incredible,” said Koepka, whose 16-under-par total of 264 set a new tournament record, beating the 265 set by David Toms in 2001.
“Looking where I was, sitting on my couch watching the Masters, and to think I would do this, I would have laughed at you and told you there was no way, no chance, and to do it is really incredible.
“My doctors, physios, trainers, everybody did an unbelievable job even to get me back out on the golf course, and to do what I’ve done is very impressive. I can’t even believe it.
“Three majors at 28, it’s a cool feeling. It really is. Hopefully I can stay healthy. I’ve kind of had some trouble with that over the past two or three years.
“I missed the British [Open in 2016] and then Augusta this year. I think I’m much more disciplined now so I should be able to play every major, making sure my body’s healthy.
“I’m excited for the next few years. I’m a fan of golf. I mean, Tiger’s come back. You look at what Dustin [Johnson] is doing, Justin [Thomas], Rory [McIlroy], [Jordan] Spieth. It’s a great time to be a golf fan. I can’t wait to duel it out with them over the next couple of years or next however long.”
A downbeat Rory McIlroy’s major drought was officially extended to four years as Tiger Woods set about ending his much longer barren spell in the 100th US PGA Championship.
Four years and two days after his last major victory at Valhalla, McIlroy carded a final round of 70 at Bellerive Country Club to finish two under par for the final major of the year.
The 29-year-old was already on the 17th hole when the final pairing of Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott headed down the first, but most eyes were on Woods as he produced the flying start he needed in pursuit of a first major since 2008.
Woods began the day four shots off the lead in a tie for sixth, exactly the same position he was in after 54 holes of the Open Championship at Carnoustie, where he would move into a one-shot lead with eight holes to play before fading to sixth.
The 42-year-old missed from seven feet for birdie on the first but holed from three feet on the second and almost holed his tee shot on the third to set up another gain and close within two shots of the lead.
In contrast, McIlroy spoke briefly to the media before heading to the airport and revealed he could opt to miss the first FedEx Cup play-off event in order to work on his game.
“It’s been a year where I’ve shown glimpses of what I can do but I just haven’t done it often enough,” McIlroy said. “It’s the major season over and we have to wait a few months to the next one but there’s still a lot of golf to play this year and quite a bit to play for.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement. My swing really hasn’t been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year but it’s sort of regressed as the season has went on, you start to fall back into some of the habits you don’t want to.
“I’ve missed the ball right and left and that’s been the real weakness. You stand up on a tee shot and it would be nice to know you can eliminate one side of the golf course and this year I haven’t felt like that.
“I feel like I’ve put the work in. It’s not like I’ve been sitting on my ass and not doing anything. I’ve given myself chances and just haven’t quite played the golf I’ve needed to whenever it’s been called upon.
“I need to assess where I’m at. I think the best thing for me to do right now is take a couple of days off and reflect on what I need to do going forward. The best thing might be to take that first FedEx Cup week off and work on my game and hopefully come back in a better place.
“I’ll do some practice this week and see if I feel ready to go there and play five out of six weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup.”
Asked how he would remember the majors in 2018, McIlroy added: “I probably won’t. I don’t think there was anything all that memorable about it. I guess I had two chances but I didn’t really contend the back nine at Augusta.
“I didn’t get myself into contention in 2017, don’t really think I did in 2016 so I guess it’s been a positive from that standpoint.”