Well, all four majors are in the books and all were spectacular. The PGA Championship for the second straight year proved why it’s more than just the “fourth major”.
Also, for the second time, Whistling Straits shined as the host course. What once was an abandoned military base, has now hosted three PGA Championships and will host the Ryder Cup (Yes, the RYDER CUP) in 2024.
It just shows you the imagination of one Pete Dye as he and his wife once again put together a legendary course. Crazy thing is, it’s in some ways, still relatively new, being built back in 2000 but it is already one of the great courses in the world.
And just a couple of hours away from me here in Chicago, it’s easy to make the trip up there. Views of Lake Michigan on every hole ain’t so bad either!
But this year’s PGA Championship was LOADED with story lines.
“Will Jordan Spieth win it for his third major this year?”
“Will Dustin Johnson come back to Straits and play well or will the bunker incident forever haunt him?”
“Will DJ also ever come through and win a major?”
“What about Tiger Woods? Is he ever going to play well in the majors again?”
“Rory McIlroy just came back from injury? How will he play?”
“Jason Day has also fell short in majors. Will he come through here?”
And sooo many other questions as well. Justin Rose had said earlier in the week that he was going to make some noise at the PGA and scarily enough, he was right!
He didn’t win, but finished in the top five.
The leaderboard even featured the likes of Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau who are arguably the hottest rookies in the sport today. That’s what makes the PGA Championship so much fun to watch and why it’s so exciting.
You never know who’s going to be hanging around on top of that leaderboard. It could be a rookie or a former champion from some 15 to 20 years ago.
OR it could be a Joe Schmo (Well, everybody knows that Joe Schmo is the greatest golfer of all-time. One does NOT simply question the great Joe Schmo’s talent!). Either way, it adds to the unpredictability that really makes the PGA Championship, the grand finale of the majors.
Jason Day who has really had a terrific year, went on to win it for his first major title. He beat Jordan Spieth (Who else?) by a few strokes and also beat others like Branden Grace, who also has played some solid golf this year as well as the aforementioned Justin Rose, who is a potential hall of famer.
His win also broke the all-time record for lowest score in a major, shooting -20 to take the title. He beat Tiger Woods’ record of -18 which was set in 1997 at The Masters.
Let me say that I am really happy for Jason Day who I’ve been asking for at least four or five years, “When is he going to capture that first major? He’s so good!”.
Ever since he finished second at The Masters back in 2011 (Charl Schwartzel won it and really helped put South African golf back on the map), I thought it was only a matter of time and I know you thought the same.
And now, here we are, four, almost five years later, and Jaydee is a major champion. He was seeking huge putts all weekend which ultimately, led him to raising the Wanamaker Trophy in victory.
And Just to show how classy his partner, Jordan Spieth was, on one of the holes, late in the Sunday round, Jaydee hit a great lag putt that stop right near the hole. Jordan then gave a thumbs up as to say kinda “Nice putt, you’re going to win this thing”.
Jaydee has been through a lot in his life to get to where he is now. His dad died when he was 12, he became an alcoholic at the same age and was getting into trouble at school. His first golf club was found in a dumpster by his father and his mother had to sell their home to use the money for Jason’s golf program/clinic.
His caddie, Colin Swatton, is the one who really put his foot on the acceleration in Jason’s career. He was the one who kept him busy with golf so he didn’t continue to get in trouble.
You see, the ol’ stereotype for golf is that every golfer is rich and spoiled and that’s nothing but a bunch of crap. I’m tired of hearing that, especially when people don’t know the players’ backgrounds.
In relation, and I think I mentioned this before but I got my first club from a flea market for $2 or $3 and I would just go to the school playground and hit shots. You don’t need to be rich nor do your parents need a doctorate degree to love golf.
Jason is a wonderful example of that and I think he can relate to a lot of people out there. I think golf gets picked on and ripped a lot because of the “Rich, Strict and Snobby” stereotype but I think non-fans can really appreciate the sport a lot more with a guy like Jason winning.
I’m not saying that anyone has to go through the crap Jason went through to be appreciated. Absolutely not, nobody deserves what happened with him.
But I think the fact that he did deal with these things and the fact that he came out such a great person out of it all, really makes you want to root for him and teaches powerful lessons about life. And like Jordan Spieth, it’s so easy to pull for a classy player who’s humble with his/her words, especially in a sport like golf, which unfortunately is an “All me” sport or a “Meh, I’m a cool person but it’s still all bout me”.
To hear little things like “Dustin should be holding this trophy right now” (Jordan said this after his win at the U.S. Open) and “To beat a great player like Jordan….” (Jason after his PGA win) is jaw-dropping because you just don’t see guys giving credit too often out there. Unless I’m missing something and I need to get my ears checked but I rarely hear these things out there.
Not only is Jason a great person and an awesome guy with the fans, he’s simply one of the most dangerous players in the world. The fact that he’s starting to close out tournaments and slam the door shut, just makes him that more deadly.
Now that he has the first major won, I think we’ll definitely see more which will only make The Masters next year that much juicier. Barring injuries, the field will be absolutely insane!
Jason also gave us this unforgettable fist pump. As if nothing was going to stop him:
Back to Jordan Spieth for a minute. He reached number one in the world rankings surpassing Rory McIlroy and at the start of the year, he was ninth in the world (Yes, NINTH!).
So although he didn’t win, he got a heck of a consolation prize. There are many people out there say he’s a “boring” player and usually those fans are European fans that don’t want to see an American on top again.
And it’s cool! I understand! That’s why the Ryder Cup is such a great event, because of the heated rivalry between European and American fans and really shows the passion.
But to say Jordan is “boring” is just plain asinine. Can someone please define the term “boring” in golf?
Making long putts, hitting crazy recovery shots out of the bunker, the clutch shots, etc. Yeah, that’s totally boring, I’mma go to sleep.
Yeah, you’re nuts.
And to be fair about it, when Martin Kaymer played dominated the U.S. Open last year, many fans were saying that was boring as well. More than likely, those saying that were American fans.
So, the fact that Jordan is the new number one, and European fans are eager for Rory to retake that spot, makes the “Battle of the continents” that much more exciting in golf.
Back to Jason Day though; I think his win officially painted the picture of what the future holds for golf. The new generation is here and it’s very exciting and it’s just going to continue to grow.
I think the “THE GAME NEEDS TIGER!” stuff has finally started to die down a little as people slowly start to realize what’s going on here. The game will be great with, or without Tiger and Phil Mickelson.
I think many of us act like childish lunatics when guys like Tiger or Phil aren’t at their best and this looks like it’s finally making progress to come to a stop. If anything, having Tiger and Phil along with the new generation of talent would make things twice as interesting but it’s not going to ruin the game if they aren’t in it to win it.
The talent now is way too good and the fact that Jordan, Rory and Jaydee are top three players in the world highly represents this new class of talent. And the fact that these three players are all from three of these player rep three separate countries, makes things that more exciting for those of you who are full of “country pride”.
The game is full of colorful characters that are skillful with a golf club. If anything, THAT is what golf needs.
New generational talent that has a swagger on and off the course.
If you’re a Tiger, Phil or Ernie Els fan, I think it’s time for you to loosen the shackles and appreciate what we have going today.
So what’s next for Jaydee after his PGA Championship win? I see him winning more majors.
How many? It’s anybody’s guess.
The fact that he had the lowest score in major championship history on a Pete Dye course is mind boggling and impressive. He has the skills that can lead him to many more titles to come.
One thing’s for sure. Jason is now a leader of the new generation of golf along with guys like Rory and Jordan.
We can’t dwell on the past with guys like Tiger, Phil and Ernie. Greatness doesn’t happen overnight.
You can’t appreciate today’s young talent if you don’t let them become great. Stop relying on the past and rely on the future.
The new generation is here, it’s fun, and the future shined bright over Lake Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
Follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! FedEx Cup Playoffs is right around the corner and should be great! Or you can just follow me for no apparent reason.
Colin GP Mieczkowski
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