Final Take On The 2017 PGA Championship
CHARLOTTE, NC_ The 99th PGA Championship played at Quail Hollow marks the final major championship for 2017.
Here is a summary of the key winners and losers from the event.
- Justin Thomas
The 24-year-old earned his first major championship with gritty play during the tense final round. Benefited from some good breaks — most notably his tee shot which was heading far left at the par-5 10th then bounced off trees clearing a left hand bunker and finding the fairway. Thomas would gain a critical matching birdie against his playing partner Hideki Matsuyama when his effort hung on the lip of the ball and only falling into the cup a few second later. To his credit, Thomas played a brilliant approach to the demanding long par-3 17th and then dropped the 15-foot birdie putt to effectively close out the championship.
- Quail Hollow
Hosting its first major championship the North Carolina venue proved to be a demanding test. Credit goes to the PGA of America field team led by Kerry Haigh in emphasizing the need for accurate driving of the ball. The dense Bermuda rough proved a formidable obstacle for those unable to do so consistently. While a few of the putting surfaces were extremely demanding, with the 4th leading the way, overall the course provided the most demanding test for all the majors played in ’17.
- PGA of America / PGA Tour Schedule Reset
The announcement just prior to the start of the championship has the PGA Championship moving in 2019 to May. The PGA Tour benefits in having its Player’s Championship go back to its original March date thus allowing the Tour to revamp its Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs so the series of events can culminate on Labor Day weekend.
- Kevin Kisner
Tied for the final round round, Kisner was unable to hold the lead but his determined efforts showed a golfer fully capable in playing at the highest of levels. Kisner benefited from a set-up where hitting fairways was a huge advantage. The 33-year-old still must get over the hurdle in playing well during a final round of a major event but he has successfully overcome all other impediments in getting far in his career.
- Rickie Fowler
Could have “mailed it in” during Sunday’s final round. Fowler hung in gamely shooting 67 and refused to go away with a tie for 5th. Still must earn his first major championship but Rickie is no longer golf’s marketing wonder — he has the game to match.
- Hideki Matsuyama
With a solid final round could have become Japan’s first major championship winner. Finished with a 72 and his back nine woes with three straight bogies clearly weighed him down. A good birdie at the par-5 15th had him rejoin the hunt but his missed four-footer for par at the 16th was the nail in the coffin for him.
- Dustin Johnson
The number one ranked player finished well with a 67 and a tie for 13th but this year’s performances in the majors — minus The Masters he missed because of injury — was disappointing. DJ has the talent but questions linger does he have the passion to go beyond and do so much more.
- Rory McIlroy
The pre-tournament favorite was unable to hit enough quality approaches to go in tandem with his top tier driving game. Ended with a final round 68 and tie for 22nd. McIlroy announced after his play that he may be taking extended time to deal with a variety of physical ailments — a rib injury sidelined him for a good deal of the ’17 season and his back has been especially tender. Hard to believe he won his last major in ’14 and has been stuck there since.
- Jason Day
Showed plenty in moving into contention early through two rounds but his utter bumbling efforts at the 18th during the 3rd round was shocking for its boldness tnat turned into total foolishness. Day quadruple-bogied the 18th and although he played better Sunday with a 70 his overall positioning heading into the final round would have been helped considerably with much smarter play when ending Saturday’s round.
- Patrick Reed
The American star Ryder Cup player from Hazletine last year had a quality final round which pushed Reed squarely into the fray. As he stood on the 72nd hole a par could have kept him close enough to give Thomas some thoughts when he arrived at the demanding closing hole at Quail Hollow. Reed found a fairway bunker off the tee and played a quality approach just short of the green. Instead of playing a low running high percentage chip and run shot, Reed opted to play a lofted wedge and the ball stopped considerably short of the hole. Reed would miss the par-putt from 15 feet and left Quail Hollow wondering what mght have been even with a closing round of 67 and a tie for 2nd.