Check Down readers, I am writing to you with a heavy heart. Halfway through my tournament reaction article, I realized all my work became irrelevant when Jason Day’s monstrous 2-iron shot put him within 10 feet of the hole, leaving him with a makeable eagle putt. Day entered the 18th needing to make eagle to give him any chance to defend his championship, and that’s exactly what he did. My impatience led me to believe that writing an article about how dull this tournament was, while the leaders were on 14, was a good idea. 250 words lamenting about how no one even attempted to put pressure on Jimmy Walker became extraneous after Day’s skillful 18th hole.
I was not all wrong though. Despite some late round theatrics, the 98th PGA Championship was rather mundane. The golf world woke up Sunday morning anticipating fireworks left and right due to the lift, clean, and place rules as well as favorable conditions. However, for the most part, that’s not what we got. Instead, we witnessed a suffocating performance by Jimmy Walker, who’s solid play was exactly what he needed to capture his first ever major. The rest of the field seemed to never get anything going that could pressure Walker, before Day’s miraculous 18th hole of course.
If you picked JW this week, you’re either lying or should stop reading this article and immediately go play the Powerball. Coming into the PGA, Walker’s major finishes this year have been absolutely dreadful, finishing T29, MC, MC in each of his three tournament appearances. The Oklahoma City native came out of left field this week to become the 4th first time major winner this year. An absolutely clinical putting performance, complimented by spectacular iron play, led JW to a neat, wire-to-wire win at the ball striking paradise that is Baltusrol Golf Club.
Multiple favorites had puzzling finishes this week. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia were among the notables who disappointed many with their poor performances. Rory’s play was especially disappointing, as he was near the top of the field in strokes gained from tee to green on Friday, only to be weighed down by an abysmal putting performance.
This week, shadowed by poor weather, was a solid performance by a player whose main goal was not to entertain us, but rather win his first major. If you love a good underdog story, that’s what you got out of the 37-year old Jimmy Walker. Job well done, J Dubs.