Joy of Golf: Player ratings from the PGA Championship

Joy Chakravarty 07:32 04/08/2016
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Texan turnaround: Jimmy Walker.

When talking of the four majors, the PGA Championship, more often than not, receives a step-brotherly treatment from fans.

Which is rather unfair, considering the tournament manages to pull the best quality field year-on-year (2016 was exceptionally good, considering it had the highest weightage in the history of world rankings as 97 out of top-100 players teed up), is always played on some of the classiest golf courses in America, and the course set-up and weather conditions are fair.

As a contest this year, it will pale in comparison to the astounding climax served up by Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson two weeks ago at Royal Troon. But that applies to every other tournament as well. The 2016 Open will remain etched in the minds of fans as one of the most sensational in the history of the sport.

And yet, the steely determination shown by Jimmy Walker in winning his first major title, and the doggedness with which 2015 champion and world No1 Jason Day chased him down the stretch will make the battle at Baltusrol an unforgettable one.

As we have always done the week after a major, here are our ratings from the PGA Championship…

JIMMY WALKER (10/10) 

The turnaround in the fortunes of the quiet Texan is complete with his first major victory. The 37 year-old turned pro in 2001, but the first of his five regular PGA Tour wins came as recently as 2013.

Walker did not come to Baltusrol in the best of forms, having missed the cut at the Open Championship and without any top-10s since finishing sixth in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. But he was brilliant from tee to green the moment he hit his first shot in New Jersey.

The final round was spectacular for the wire-to-wire champion as he made pars on each of the front nine holes, and despite the mounting pressure from his challengers, made three birdies coming in.

Known more for his astonishing pictures of distant planets and galaxies, this amateur astrophotographer has now firmly established himself as a star himself.

JASON DAY (10/10) 

I usually reserve 10 only for the champion, but will make an exception for the Australian runner-up this time.

To begin with, Day did not have the best of starts to the tournament.

Two-over par after 25 holes and in distinct danger of missing the cut, his lack of preparation for the tournament was showing.

Because of his own, and then his wife’s ill-health, Day had played just one practice round at Baltusrol before his opening round. But he made seven birdies in eight holes from the eighth hole onwards in the second round, and finally fell short of the winning number by one shot.

And yet, he did produce the shot of the tournament, a stunning two-iron second shot from 260 yards on the par-5 final hole which got him an eagle and piled on the pressure on Walker.

BROOKS KOEPKA (9/10)

 The American finished tied fourth at eight-under par, but it was truly a heroic effort from the man who is on the verge of qualifying for the Ryder Cup.

Koepka, who missed the Open Championship and has been out of action for more than a month because of an ankle injury, somehow played through the pain and things became that much more difficult for him when the thunderstorm forced him to pay 36 holes on Sunday. Despite all that, the 2014 European Tour Rookie of the Year was just sensational.

HENRIK STENSON (8/10)

It’s not easy to follow a major win with another, but the Swede almost pulled it off before running out of steam on the back nine of the final round. An unfortunate double bogey on the 15th hole denied him a finish better than tied-seventh.

BRANDEN GRACE (8/10)

Statistically speaking, the South African world No10 is now the second- best player in the world after Rickie Fowler not to win a major. Another superb outing for him with a tied-fourth place.

TYRRELL HATTON (8/10) 

The young Englishman may not have won any tournament so far in his career, but he is definitely one to watch in the future. Hatton’s followed his runners-up finish at Scottish Open with a fifth place at The Open and now a tied 10th at PGA Championship.

JORDAN SPIETH (6/10)

From the 12th hole onwards on the final day of the Masters, it just did not happen in the majors this year for Spieth. The tied 13th at Baltusrol was his best effort after Augusta, but with his putting under pressure, he has definitely not been the Spieth we all know.

PHIL MICKELSON (5/10)

A lot was expected from the American veteran, especially after the fantastic show in the Open, and given the fact that he was the champion in Baltusrol in 2005. With a tied 33rd place, he was a big disappointment.

LEE WESTWOOD (4/10)

With his horse ‘Hoof It’ winning the opening race in Glorious Goodwood on Saturday, it was thought an inspired Westwood will turn it around at Baltusrol over the weekend. That did not happen and the Englishman, worryingly for Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, slipped with a 73 and 75.

RORY MCILROY (2/10)

A second missed cut in the majors – after the US Open – is extremely poor by McIlroy’s standards. The world No4 was easily the best in the field driving from tee to green, but it was on and around the green that he put up a nightmarish performance.

DUSTIN JOHNSON (1/10)

The hottest player in the world was nowhere in the reckoning. He made only two birdies in the two rounds he played, and two doubles and seven bogeys completed his misery.

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