Weekly PGA Recap: What A Day!

Weekly PGA Recap: What A Day!

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Recap series.

As Jason Day's putt on the 72nd hole of the Open Championship last month stopped a foot short of the cup, he buried his face in his hand, tears welling up in his eyes, distraught that yet another chance for a major title had eluded him. Again? All that hard work wasted? Yes, again.

As Day's final putt on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship dropped into the cup on Sunday, he buried his face in his hand once more, and this time he was crying. He was overcome by the enormity of what he had become: a major champion.

Day played side-by-side with the most imposing figure in golf, Jordan Spieth, and didn't so much as blink, turning in an almost-flawless 5-under-par 67 to capture the Wanamaker Trophy in record fashion. His 20-under total is the best score in relation to par ever in a major tournament.

The 27-year-old Australian's disappointments in the big four events -- six top-5s with zero wins -- began in 2011. Only Phil Mickelson has experienced more heartache before winning his first major, with nine top-5s preceding his breakthrough 2004 Masters title.

The margin of victory is often so slight in golf tournaments, but Day had continually been thisclose, one bad shot here or there the difference. On Sunday at Whistling Straits, however, he put on a "stripe show," according to Spieth, meaning he repeatedly striped his drives down the fairway. It was quite an admission from the new world No. 1 that

As Jason Day's putt on the 72nd hole of the Open Championship last month stopped a foot short of the cup, he buried his face in his hand, tears welling up in his eyes, distraught that yet another chance for a major title had eluded him. Again? All that hard work wasted? Yes, again.

As Day's final putt on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship dropped into the cup on Sunday, he buried his face in his hand once more, and this time he was crying. He was overcome by the enormity of what he had become: a major champion.

Day played side-by-side with the most imposing figure in golf, Jordan Spieth, and didn't so much as blink, turning in an almost-flawless 5-under-par 67 to capture the Wanamaker Trophy in record fashion. His 20-under total is the best score in relation to par ever in a major tournament.

The 27-year-old Australian's disappointments in the big four events -- six top-5s with zero wins -- began in 2011. Only Phil Mickelson has experienced more heartache before winning his first major, with nine top-5s preceding his breakthrough 2004 Masters title.

The margin of victory is often so slight in golf tournaments, but Day had continually been thisclose, one bad shot here or there the difference. On Sunday at Whistling Straits, however, he put on a "stripe show," according to Spieth, meaning he repeatedly striped his drives down the fairway. It was quite an admission from the new world No. 1 that he just couldn't penetrate Day, ending up in solo second, three strokes back.

"I was trying to hold back the tears over the first putt," said Day, referring to his birdie try on the par-4 18th. "And when I saw the putt go up to half a foot, I just couldn't stop crying. It's just a lot of hard work that I've been putting into this game to dedicate myself to have a shot at glory, have a shot at greatness."

Day's dedication has been remarkable and well-chronicled, not only getting off the ground during the second round of the U.S. Open after being felled by a bout of vertigo, but recovering to tie for ninth. Then he tied for fourth at St. Andrews. Despite that huge disappointment, he won the very next week, at the Canadian Open, when others might've wanted to pull the covers over their head for a week.

Day, who now lives in Ohio, where his wife was born, stands at a career-best third in the world rankings, behind Rory McIlroy, who was overtaken by Spieth for the top spot this week. The three seem well-positioned to contend in majors for years to come.

MONDAY TAKEAWAY

Jordan Spieth

Not a bad consolation prize -- becoming No. 1 in the world. Spieth's 2015 major showings, which include two wins, can at least be mentioned in the same sentence as Tiger Woods' three-win 2000. He's the second youngest No. 1, behind only, yes, Woods. Spieth is perfectly capable of winning two or more majors next year, but no one should be surprised if he doesn't. It's such a hard accomplishment, and there are so many great golfers.

Branden Grace

Grace completed his best year of majors with a solo third, following up his tie for fourth at the U.S. Open in June. The South African has entered this week's Wyndham, but after that, he's done for the season on U.S. soil. Grace is not a member of the PGA Tour and will not be in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Grace's owners will feel the loss of one of their top golfers. On the other hand, two major top-5s are far more than they could've ever have hoped for from the traditionally underperforming Grace.

Justin Rose

Rose's incredible summer continued with yet another high finish in a big event, this time tying for fourth. That's his fourth straight top 6, including the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone. After skipping the Wyndham, the Englishman will head to the playoffs on the short list of those most likely to win the FedEx Cup.

Anirban Lahiri

The Indian bogeyed the 72nd hole to slip into a tie for fifth with Brooks Koepka, costing him an automatic invite to next year's Masters (top four and ties get in). But he surged to No. 38 in the rankings, meaning he'll likely return to Augusta anyway by virtue of finishing the year in the top 50 in the world. Lahiri came out of nowhere earlier this year to win two European Tour events, but then he seemed overmatched in majors -- until the PGA. Look for him to make the Presidents Cup team this year -- and to be more of a factor in majors next year.

Brooks Koepka

Koepka seems to be as good an answer as any to the question: Which young stud will be the next to become a major champion? He's already off to a nice progression: T33 in the Masters, T18 in the U.S. Open, T10 in the British, T5 in the PGA. Koepka climbed to a personal-best No. 17 in the world.

Dustin Johnson

Just when we think we've seen it all with Johnson, we are proven wrong. Johnson was not going to win the tournament anyway, beginning the fourth round six strokes behind Day. But opening with a snowman 8 was remarkable. And so was playing the next 17 holes in 7-under. Everyone says Johnson has too much talent to not win a major, but just ask Day how talent is not enough.

Rory McIlroy

After missing 1.5 months with ruptured ligaments in his left ankle, McIlroy played about as well as could be expected, tying for 17th. He's close enough in the OWGR that could overtake Spieth, but it won't be for a while. Not only will McIlroy skip this week's Wyndham, but he also announced he'll bypass the Barclays, the first playoff event, the week after.

Adam Scott

Scott made two bold admissions earlier this season: He needed his anchored putter and he needed Stevie Williams as his caddie. But while those two additions translated into top-10s at the U.S. and British Opens, they did not translate into a victory. Scott missed the cut at the PGA by a whopping four strokes in the last major he'll be able to play with his anchored putter before the ban takes effect in 2016. He's 91st in the point standings and that no doubt contributed to him playing in the Wyndham this week. At No. 12, he's the highest ranked golfer in the field.

Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel's late birdie-fest at the 2011 Masters left Day with his first major runner-up. He hasn't done a whole lot since, and making the playoffs is no sure thing. The South African tied for 37th at Whistling Straits to move to 125th in points. Schwartzel will play the Wyndham.

Luke Donald

Just ahead of Schwartzel in the standings is Donald at 124. And he too will play the Wyndham, with his playoff position no sure thing. Donald tied for 43rd at the PGA and he, sadly, now is largely an afterthought on tour.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only Golf Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire Golf fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
Read The Line Betting Breakdown: Mexico Open at Vidanta
Read The Line Betting Breakdown: Mexico Open at Vidanta
2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta Betting: Picks, Odds, Predictions and Best Bets
2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta Betting: Picks, Odds, Predictions and Best Bets
FanDuel PGA DFS Picks: Mexico Open at Vidanta Cash and GPP Strategy
FanDuel PGA DFS Picks: Mexico Open at Vidanta Cash and GPP Strategy
Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Mexico Open at Vidanta Cash and GPP Strategy
Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Mexico Open at Vidanta Cash and GPP Strategy