Jason Day wins the PGA Championship
Jason Day won his first major championship on Sunday at Whistling Straits, as he held off Jordan Spieth to claim the 2015 PGA Championship.
To talk about how this tournament went down, we really have to go back to late on Saturday. Spieth absolutely scorched the back nine at Whistling Straits, coming in with a 30 to post the lead in the clubhouse and basically assure himself of another date with Day in the final day of a major. The two had played together in the penultimate on Sunday at St Andrews last month, with both missing the playoff by a single shot and watching Zach Johnson lift the Claret Jug after defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman. On Saturday at Whistling, Day made birdie on the par-3 17th, giving him a two shot edge on Spieth heading into the final round.
That lead was something that Day would never relinquish on Sunday, and as Spieth put it in his post tournament interview with David Feherty, Day put on a clinic off the tee with both his length and accuracy, with the most impressive one likely coming on 16 after he made a bogey to see his lead cut to two shots. Day actually outdrove the driving grid that CBS had placed on the screen with a majestic blast that never once left his target line.
It was one of those rounds of golf where very few players made mistakes. Spieth, Branden Grace, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and a cast of others were great on Sunday, but Day never relented and his final round 67 allowed him to post a final total of 20-under par, becoming the first player to ever record such a number in a major championship.
It was special to watch.
- 1. Jason Day -20
- 2. Jordan Spieth -17
- 3. Branden Grace -15
- 4. Justin Rose -14
- T5. Brooks Koepka -13
- T5. Anirban Lahiri -13
What The Win Means For Day
This one was a long time coming. Coming into the week, Day had posted nine top-10 finishes in major championships since 2010, and had come agonizingly close to winning a few of those as well which meant that he was usually placed at or near the top of that “best player to never win a major” list. From the outside looking in though, it never really seemed to bother him like it has with so many other players and the fact that he did it while holding off the hottest player on the planet who kept throwing haymakers makes it even more impressive. Some of the criticism around Day in the majors has revolved around the idea that sometimes he tends to take the foot off the gas, which is completely counter to the naturally aggressive style that allows him to get into a good position in the first place, but that didn’t happen all week. Even when he made mistakes, usually as a result of firing at dangerous pins, he came right back and went flag hunting.
Right after that booming drive on 16, Day saw Spieth go left into a really bad position with his approach, landing in a bunker that combined with Spieth’s lie made it look like he was going to give another shot back to Day, allowing the Australian to extend his lead even further. The pin was on the far left as well, so Spieth going at it made sense as he needed to force Day’s hand with a birdie. The 16th green is large and had plenty of room to the right of the flag for Day to place his approach, leading Feherty to remark that there was no chance that Day was going to be left of the flag like Spieth. It just wasn’t the prudent play, but Day went at it anyway and when it stopped on the fringe, left of the flag, the tournament was over. Spieth went on to hit a ridiculous bunker shot and both men walked away with a birdie, but even still, it was at that moment that Day broke through. He never relented and the end result was the biggest win of his career.
Specifically, this is what the win means for Day:
- Day takes home $1,800,000.
- Moves from 5th to 3rd in the Official World Golf Rankings.
- Sets a new record for winning total in relation to par at a major championship, besting Tiger from the 2000 Open Championship by one.
- Fifth career PGA Tour victory (2010 Byron Nelson, 2014 WGC-Match Play, 2015 Farmers and 2015 Canadian Open)
- Fully exempt for life at the PGA Championship and for the next five years at the other three majors.
What The Loss Means For Spieth
There was nothing left for Spieth to do on Sunday at Whistling Straits. He gave everything he had and he was simply beaten by a guy who set a new scoring record. In fact, Spieth’s 17-under par total has been beaten by eight players in major championship history, and it just so happened that one of the eight played with him in the final group on Sunday. It wasn’t all bad news for Spieth though, as with his finish, he did claim the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings from Rory McIlroy and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t contend and build his bank account even further over the next few weeks with the FedEx Cup playoffs.
As special as it was to watch Day this week, we really shouldn’t forget about Spieth. Just incredible.
The Best Moment EVER
Don’t Hit It There
Just Like Us
- I usually love CBS’ coverage, but man, they couldn’t have dropped the ball any harder on the weekend. The commercial to golf ratio was ridiculous, and then on Sunday, if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought Spieth and Day were the only pair on the golf course. Just a bad, bad week and one that makes you really appreciate the work that ESPN does every year and what CBS does with the Masters. It needs to be better.
- He finished in solo 17th, but Rory had a really impressive week all things considered. Watching him battle with Spieth and Day over the next decade is going to be phenomenal.
- Speaking of phenomenal, here’s Dustin Johnson’s scorecard from Sunday:
- Outside of the final group, the most exciting player to watch all week was Phil, who had more birdies than pars in his third round and for a fleeting moment, actually appeared to have a chance to contend. Golf is just so much better when he’s in the mix.
- On the flip side of that, the least exciting player to watch all week was Tiger, who looked utterly lost and confused on the greens and despite what he’ll tell you, not much better than that everywhere else. Hopefully he shows up and plays Wyndham this week because really, if he doesn’t, that’ll tell you more about his state of mind and his drive towards fixing this problem than anything else. You can’t keep talking about needing more reps and then decide that you won’t get them when available.