19th Hole

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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It Was Jason’s Day!

Last month, I wrote about how Majors are lost not won. Many times the players beat themselves and fall from the top of the hill. Last month, Jason Day left a putt short on the final hole of the British Open and Zach Johnson wins. A week later, Jason makes sure to not leave the putt short on the final hole of the RBC Canadian Open and wins. A “Day late and a putt short,” not this time. Who knew that this would set up for one of the greatest major showdowns at this year’s PGA. The stories looming kept us all engaged throughout the week. Will Jordan hold three of the four Major trophies?  Will an American win this Major resulting in the first time in 33 years that Americans held all four Major trophies? Will Dustin Johnson get his first Major? Will Jason Day win his first Major?

Thursday started out with a familiar name on top of the leaderboard, Dustin Johnson. He continued his round one great play; but, round two would be less than stellar and then it was play catch up in the final two rounds. Again, this was not to be Dustin’s Major. 

David Lingmerth was having a great PGA Championship coming off great play in the previous majors; but, round three was David’s demise. Jordan Speith started slowly with an opening round 71 and only had one goal in mind for the week and that was to make the cut. Speith had never made the cut at the PGA. As the week went on, Jordan kept climbing the leaderboard. 

Jason Day said at the start of the week he knew he was going to win this Major. He knew how he felt inside. He knew what he had been through in the last two months at the US and British Opens. This was it. Jason opened with 68, 67 in the first two rounds and in the hunt. He hit the balls long and straight. Jason was putting lights out. On Saturday, Jason put the hammer down on the field with a 66 and setting up a shootout between two of the young gun players we will be watching for the next 15 years, Jason Day and Jordan Speith.

Throughout the final round there were many that tried to catch Jason but he would not fold. Jason kept bombing tee shots and holding on to his lead throughout Sunday. Jordan kept up, not in distance but in score, and then the eleventh hole is when everyone heard the door slam closed on this year’s PGA Championship. 382 yards will be the number to remember; that was the distance of Jason’s drive on the 11th, only needing an 8 or 9 iron into the 563 yard par 5. Jordan said he knew then it would be an uphill battle to catch Jordan.  

Jordan was correct, Jason put on a clinic all week. Jason would finish strong and set a new lowest total under par in a major of -20. What a great champion. Jordan would finish 3 shots back and 4 shots out of being a Grand Slam winner. Jordan shot -54 for the 4 Majors this year and in second place Jason Day -35; 20 of that -35 came in this weekend alone. In the end Jordan was happy for Jason, but even more happy for himself as he accomplished another goal, with the second place finish, Jordan became #1 in the world of golf. This week was a great glimpse into the future of golf.

Finally, my hat’s off to the PGA for one of the greatest finishes, but also for getting it right in all aspects of the event. The golf course was in fantastic condition, the pairings early in the week setting up some of the final round drama was great and setting up holes that were birdie or eagle accessible, made it great viewing entertainment. Now we have to wait 8 months to see who will win the next major. Until then, Jason will enjoy his Day.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports now on 98.7 FM or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.