The PGA Championship - All Access Sporting News

Updated February 28, 8:40 AM CT


The PGA Championship

May 20, 2019

Koepka wins second-straight PGA Championship

   Brooks Koepka played most of the day perfectly, pounding perfect drives on 15 and 16 to set up pars that held his lead. Even though he fired a final-round 74 - letting his lead evaporate from seven shots to just one - at the end of the day Koepka raised the Wanamaker Trophy for the second consecutive year.

Koepka joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it switched to stroke play in 1958. He also became the first player to hold back-to-back major titles at the same time, having won his second straight U.S. Open title last summer.

Johnson played great for 15 holes, but two bogeys on the back nine sunk any momentum he had.

Johnson has only a single major in 40 starts, while Koepka now has four.

Johnson started the day seven shots behind Brooks Koepka at Bethpage, but he managed to cut that deficit to just a single shot after a birdie on the 15th hole. After following with a pair of bogeys, Johnson finished the week alone in second place, two shots behind Koepka who claimed his fourth major in his past eight attempts.

“I’m very pleased with the way I played. I feel like my game’s been pretty good all year,” Johnson said. “The first three days, I didn’t make enough putts. I hit the ball plenty good enough to have been tied with Brooks going into Sunday, I just didn’t make enough putts.”

After looking unstoppable for three-and-a-half days, Koepka began sliding down the leaderboard. Errant drives on Nos. 11, 12, 13 and 14. coupled with a Johnson birdie on 15, the seven-shot lead was now down to a single stroke.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Koepka said. “I was just in shock.” “I can't tell you the last time I made four bogeys in a row,” he said.

“I think it actually helped,” Koepka said afterward. “It was at a perfect time, because I was just thinking, 'OK, I’ve got everybody against me. Let’s go.'”

“He’s as competitive of a person as I’ve ever met,” said Koepka’s swing coach, Claude Harmon III, “and I think you need not necessarily rivalries, but people to push you and to inspire you. DJ has done a great job of that.” 

“He has showed over the last two to three years how mentally tough he is,” Harmon said. “To do what he’s done, he’s uniquely talented. He’s got huge balls. Like ... big balls. You have to be able to do that to win these things.”

While Jordan Spieth (T-3) came up short of his elusive major title, Johnson’s solo second finish gave him the distinction of having finished second in each of golf’s four major championships.

Johnson becomes the eighth player in PGA Tour history to finish second at all four majors, joining a list that also includes Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson. He is the first to complete the feat since Louis Oosthuizen finished second at the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

Koepka now joins this elite group:

Most major wins before turning 30










RORY McIlroy   4


Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

Source: PGA; GolfChannel; TNT; AASNSports

The 2019 PGA Championship

Where: Bethpage State Park, Black course

When: Thursday, May 16 - Sunday, May 19

Event: 101st PGA Championship

Length: 7,459 yards

Par: 35-35-70

Field: 156 players (136 tour pros, 20 club pros)

Prize money: TBA ($11 million in 2018)

Winner's share: TBA ($1.98 million in 2018)

Defending champion: Brooks Koepka

A look at the four previous times Bethpage Black has held premium golf events:

TOURNAMENT: 2002 U.S. Open

WINNER: Tiger Woods

SCORE: 277

RUNNER-UP: Phil Mickelson

MARGIN: 3 shots

RECAP: The U.S. Open went to a state-run public course for the first time and Tiger Woods turned it into his private domain. Woods won his second major of the year, putting him halfway to the calendar Grand Slam, with a wire-to-wire victory at Bethpage Black. He started the final round with a four-shot lead over Sergio Garcia, who faded quickly. Phil Mickelson was five shots behind and was closing in when Woods hit 2-iron onto the green at the par-5 13th to set up a birdie, and Mickelson bogeyed two holes near the end. Woods finished with two bogeys over the last three holes for a 2-over 72, the first time he won a major with a final round over par.

NOTABLE: The victory gave Woods seven of the last 11 majors.

QUOTABLE: ''I don't think anyone realizes how tough it is to win a major championship.'' - Tiger Woods.

TOURNAMENT: 2009 U.S. Open

WINNER: Lucas Glover

SCORE: 276

RUNNER-UP: Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes

MARGIN: 2 shots

RECAP: The return to Bethpage Black turned into a week of mud, muck and endless rain delays that led to a Monday finish. The course was so soft that Mike Weir opened with a 64, Glover shot 64 in the second round and three other players had rounds of 65. Barnes broke the 36-hole record at 132. But it turned tough at the end. Barnes reached double digits under par in the third round and at one point had a six-shot lead until he began to cave. Mickelson, the only player at par or better all four rounds, made a late charge until he missed a short putt on the 15th. Glover closed with a 3-over 73 and played the 18th hole with a 6-iron off the tee and a 9-iron to the green for a two-putt par. Tiger Woods, who fell 10 shots behind after opening with a 74, tied for sixth, four shots behind.

NOTABLE: Glover made only one birdie in the final round, on the 16th hole to take the lead.

QUOTABLE: ''I just looked at the scoreboard to make sure this was really happening.'' - Lucas Glover.

TOURNAMENT: 2012 Barclays

WINNER: Nick Watney

SCORE: 278

RUNNER-UP: Brandt Snedeker

MARGIN: 3 shots

RECAP: Watney turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead in a decisive four-hole stretch around the turn, and kept everyone at least two shots away the rest of the round. He closed with a 2-under 69 and a two-shot victory to capture the opening FedEx Cup playoff event. Garcia, coming off a victory the previous week in the Wyndham Champion, shot 75 in the final round. Dustin Johnson closed with a 68 and tied for third with Garcia. Tiger Woods, who led the FedEx Cup going into the postseason, shot 72-76 on the weekend and tied for 38th, 11 shots out of the lead. It was only the third time all year Woods finished over par. The other two were majors.

NOTABLE: The second round was the first time Woods showed signs of back problems. He grimaced as he walked and struggled just to retrieve the ball from the cup. Woods blamed it on a soft mattress in his hotel.

QUOTABLE: ''I made more putts than I made all year.'' - Nick Watney.

TOURNAMENT: 2016 Barclays

WINNER: Patrick Reed

SCORE: 275

RUNNER-UP: Sean O'Hair and Emiliano Grillo

MARGIN: 1 shot

RECAP: Patrick Reed won his only tournament of the year at just the right time. He rallied from an early two-shot deficit and closed with a 1-under 70 to win the FedEx Cup playoff opener. Along with having a clear shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, The Barclays was the final tournament to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team, and Reed's victory assured him a spot on the U.S. team for Hazeltine. Rickie Fowler had a one-shot lead going into the final round and had gone 55 straight holes without a bogey until the 11th hole, which cost him the lead. Needing a third-place finish to earn a spot on the team, Fowler missed a 4-foot par putt on the 15th and made double bogey on the 16th. He tied for seventh and wound up making the team as a captain's pick.

NOTABLE: Phil Mickelson had 72-hole scores of 280 and 278 in the U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black and both times was runner-up. He finished at 285 and 281 in the two PGA Tour events at Bethpage, never cracking the top 10.

QUOTABLE: ''Everyone's been talking about the Ryder Cup. If you go and win, it takes care of everything else.'' - Patrick Reed.

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