Monday, August 11, 2014
Patrick's Perspective 8.11.14: 2014 PGA Championship
WOW! and, I told you so.
What a golf tournament. This was by far and away the best one this year. I am glad the golfers saved the best for last. The PGA Championship in Valhalla did not disappoint.
The tournament over the course of the 4 days had numerous weather delays that caused higher than normal scores and sloppier than normal conditions.
Going into the final Round yesterday, Rory McIlroy had a two shot lead over Rickie Fowler and a three shot lead over Phil Mickelson. What would take place yesterday afternoon was awesome. All three golfers were scheduled originally to tee off around 2:45pm ET, but the weather did not cooperate and delayed them until 4:20pm ET or so. The conditions were very wet. Standing water all over the course which allowed players to take relief from it since it was not a hazard. There were several times where relief was taken which caused the pace of play to move at a snails pace.
During the final round, especially during the first nine holes, it looked as if Rickie was going to taste his first major victory. However, as I mentioned earlier, with the conditions playing slower & sloppier it caught up to Rickie. And, Rory was well, amazing. Going into the 10th hole Rickie was atop of the leader board after he birdied the par 5 10th hole making a long Birdie putt. You could see the momentum going for him. On that same hole Rory, was in the group behind him, saw Rickie make his 4. At that time Rory was three shots back. He smoked his drive and elects to hit a 3 wood to try and get on the green on two. When he hit it, the ball appeared it would be short. It was not. Rory played a brilliant runner that would end up seven feet from the hole where he would eagle it. From that point on the tournament changed.
The remaining holes were just great golf. Many clutch par saving putts for the leaders. And, I must give Phil his props. He is still awesome. He is still a wizard with his short game. He is still one of the best in the world. After hole 14, he sat atop of the leader board with Rory after Rickie made a bogey on that hole.
The last few holes of this tournament will be forever remembered as trying to finish in daylight. A part of me wishes they would of stopped the tournament after the 16th hole and finished on Monday. It was getting dark. You could tell the players were rushing their shots. Now grant it they are pros, but still. I think with the added pressure of trying to win, with a single shot separating 3 players, and this being a major it should of been delayed until Monday morning. I guess the good thing though is that all three guys had to go through the same conditions which made it fair.
Rory, the new killer in golf, made a birdie on 17 to take a two shot lead. This is where everything got interesting. On hole 18 Rickie & Phil were getting ready to tee off. You could clearly see it getting very dark. And, to boot, the storms were picking up again. With the interest of finishing the tournament on Sunday, Rory was allowed to play into the Rickie & Phil group. Essentially it was almost like a foursome. When Rory teed off on 18 he got lucky. He was about 6 feet from putting his drive into the water. Sometimes, luck is required to win. At that point Rickie & Phil had hit their second shots . The 18th hole is a par 5. If either of them made a 3 for eagle it would force Rory to make birdie. Rickie & Phil both had chances at eagle. Phil went first. He hit a wedge shot that was on the brink of going in. Just missed. Rickie had a putt for an eagle, about a 30-40 footer. Not a gimme. He did miss. You could tell both he and Phil were frustrated as Rory's group was playing on top of them . It bothered them. Phil went on to make a birdie and Rickie made a par. Rory went on to make a par and seal his 4th major title.
Again, this was by far and away the best major of the year. Lots of drama, excellent golf, and controversy! Very fun. I did predict a Rory victory. He has reached the Tiger zone. Yes I said that. The guy is only 25 years old. He is well on his way to more major championships. Yesterday when it looked like he was out of it, he persevered, and won. That is what champions do. It was a legendary performance in my opinion. With everything that was going on yesterday especially early on it appeared he was going to lose. Not so. Well done Rory.
As for Rickie Fowler, his time will come. He was so close. He had the look in his eyes on every hole. He made birdies and clutch putts. However still came up short. Rickie is also 25 like Rory. This is the second time in consecutive majors where these two have battled it out. Rickie is on a come up. He was top 5 in all four major tournaments this year. As disappointing as this loss was, it will have to be something for him to build off of. He has many more years of great golf to go. I look forward to this rivalry for many years to come. It will be great.
Until the Ryder Cup,
Cheers ~ Patrick