Great US PGA Championship Moments
THE US PGA Championship is regarded as the least prestigious of golf's four majors. Maybe it is because the field always contains a smattering of club professionals or maybe it is just because it is the final major of the year and we don't like it because it means we have to wait until April before it all begins again at The Masters.
However, it is a tournament that has produced some amazing moments of drama over the years, and some truly unforgettable shots. We recall just a few of them.
Sergio Garcia, Medinah, 1999
The Spaniard was just 19 years old and seemed to have the world at his feet. In the final round at Medinah in 1999 he hit his drive close to a tree on the 16th hole during the final round. The hole is a 452-yard par four and Garcia was 190 yards from the green, with his ball lying in the exposed roots behind the tree. He elected to go for the green instead of chipping safely back into the fairway. He opened the face of a six iron and as he swung, closed his eyes at impact. The ball soared high into the air and came to rest on the green, 20 yards from the hole. As it was in the air, Garcia skipped and jumped down the fairway to see where the ball finished. He was beaten by Tiger Woods but, in that moment, he had arrived.
Jason Day, Whistling Straits, 2015
Day had come within a shot of winning The Open at St Andrews the previous month and was bitterly disappointed not to have picked up the Claret Jug, but the following week he won the Canadian Open. He arrived at the monstrous Whistling Straits on a high and proceeded to tear the course to shreds as he did battle with Jordan Spieth. Day finished the week a record 20 under par, and on the 18th green collapsed into the arms of Col Swatton, his caddie, coach and surrogate father.
John Daly, Crooked Stick, 1991
Daly arrived at Crooked Stick having driven through the night to get there. He was ninth alternate and, incredibly, nine players dropped out and he was given the news that he was in the field if he could make it in time. He was an unknown at the time. But everybody knew who he was by the end of the week after Daly produced a display of long hitting the likes of which the game had never seen before. He won by three shots and captured the hearts of golf fans all over the world with his fearless style of play.
Davis Love, Winged Foot, 1997
Love had been knocking on the door for a while and had often paid tribute the part his late father, also called Davis, had played in his life and career. Love Sr was a PGA professional who died in 1988. The weather at Winged Foot in 1997 was horrible, with black clouds and heavy rain doing their best to ruin the tournament. But as Love approached the final green with playing partner Justin Leonard the clouds finally cleared and, as Love lined up his winning putt, a rainbow appeared. The player later said he was certain that it was his Dad looking down on him. It was a real goose-bumps moment.
Y E Yang, Hazletine, 2009
Tiger Woods led going into the final round, and we had all handed him his 15th major. After all, Woods never, ever lost a major if he led going into the final round. And the man in second place was a South Korean called Y E Yang whom we all expected to fold. He didn't hit the ball terribly far and he certainly wasn't going to intimidate the greatest player in the world. But it didn't quite work out that way. The highlight of the final round, and the moment we knew that we were watching something extraordinary, came at the 14th hole, when Yang chipped in for an eagle and took a lead he would not relinquish.
Bob Tway, Inverness, 1986
Things had a habit of happening when Greg Norman was involved in the shakedown at majors - there was that chip holed by Larry Mize at The Masters and his final-round meltdown when he succumbed to Nick Faldo at Augusta. And then there was the 1986 PGA Championship. Norman and Bob Tway were tied for the lead playing the final hole and when Tway bunkered his approach it seemed all but over. But, as Norman looked on, probably rehearsing his winning speech, Tway stepped into the bunker, swung his sand iron, made contact with the ball and leapt into the air as the ball disappeared into the hole. A devastated Norman was unable to follow him in - and another major slipped through his fingers.
John Mahaffey, Oakmont, 1978
Mahaffey trailed Tom Watson by seven shots with 14 holes left - and you don't ever give Watson that sort of a lead and expect to catch him. Astonishingly, Watson began to struggle and Mahaffey found himself climbing the leaderboard. When all the scores were counted up, Mahaffey, Watson and Jerry Pate had finished in a tie for the lead. The ensuing playoff ended at the second extra hole when Mahaffey holed a 12-foot birdie putt for his only major victory.
Tiger Woods, Valhalla, 2000
Incredible events happened when Woods was around, and never more so than at Valhalla in 2000. He had a sensational year, winning three majors, but he had his work cut out for him during the US PGA when Bob May, an unheralded PGA Tour pro, refused to buckle and played the best golf of his life for four days. He withstood everything that Woods could throw at him, and kept coming back for more. In the end, Woods came to the final green and had to hole a six-foot putt to force a playoff. Of course, he made the putt and Woods and the crowd went nuts. There was only ever going to be one winner in the playoff.
Shaun Micheel, Oak Hill, 2003
When you have never been in contention in a major before, how are you able to produce the shot of your life when the pressure is at its greatest? That is precisely what Shaun Micheel achieved on the final hole at Oak Hill in 2003. The seven iron he struck to the final green was a glorious, a shot for the ages. When he hit the ball and looked up to see it soaring into the sky he yelled: "Be right." It most certainly was. It finished inches from the hole and Micheel tapped in to win the Wanamaker Trophy. But here is the real mystery - it was the only tournament he ever won on the PGA Tour, so how was he able to produce a shot like that when it mattered most of all?
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