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My 6 Favourite PGA Championship Moments

By: | Mon 15 May 2023

THE PGA Championship used to be played in August and has often been regarded as the least significant of the sport’s four majors, known as ‘glory’s last shot’.

That is pretty unfair. It is true that there have been some surprise winners, but surely that is the beauty and special attraction of the majors. Who would ever have predicted that Ben Curtis would win The Open, that Trevor Immelman would triumph at The Masters or that Andy North would win the US Open?

There have been some amazing editions of the PGA in recent years, and here are just a few of my favourites...

YE Yang, 2009, Hazeltine

When Tiger Woods started the final round of a major with the lead it was taken as read that he would go on to win. Until the 2009 PGA at Hazeltine nobody had ever reeled him in and YE Yang, of South Korea, was given no chance. But Yang hadn’t read the script. It was a three-man race until Padraig Harrington ran up a seven on a par three. At the 14th, Yang holed an eagle putt to go two in front and he held on to win. It was the first in 36 tournaments that Woods had failed to convert a 54-hole lead.

Shaun Micheel, 2003, Oak Hill

If you are only going to win one tournament in America then it might as well be a major. Just ask Shaun Micheel, whose life changed forever during four memorable days at Oak Hill in 2003. He started the tournament ranked 169th in the world and was making his 164th start on the PGA Tour, but he took the lead after 36 holes and, incredibly, held on to beat Chad Campbell by two shots.

Padraig Harrington, 2008, Oakland Hills

Harrington arrived at Oakland Hills as the Open Champion and after 36 holes he was four over par and seemingly out of contention. But he had other ideas. The Irishman was playing the best golf of his life - he had also won The Open 2007. And over the weekend he played the final 36 holes in eight under par, and beat Sergio Garcia and Ben Curtis by two shots. It made him only the third man after Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara to win two majors in the same year since Nick Price in 1994.

Rory McIlroy, 2012, Kiawah Island

This was the year that Rory McIlroy lapped the field at Kiawah Island, winning by an astonishing eight shots - a record margin. McIlroy started the final round with a three-stroke lead and shot a bogey-free 66 to run away from the field. At the time, McIlroy's win at 22 years old made him the youngest multiple major champion since Seve Ballesteros won the 1980 Masters. McIlroy's win also regained him the world's number one ranking.

Phil Mickelson, 2021, Kiawah Island

There is never a dull moment when Phil Mickelson is around. But nobody could possibly have predicted what would happen when he turned up to play in the 2021 PGA Championship at the fearsome Kiawah Island. If ever there was a course that should not have suited him it was this one but he defied the odds to see off Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen. At the age of 50, he also became golf’s oldest major champion.

Tiger Woods, 1999, Medinah

Tiger Woods was at the absolute peak of his powers at Medinah and would win what was his second major but it was the arrival on the world scene of Sergio Garcia, at just 19 years of age, that stole the show. It seemed certain that we were watching the start of what would become a long rivalry. At the 16th hole Garcia hit a wayward tee shot that finished at the base of a tree. He later admitted that he closed his eyes as he made contact with the ball before skipping down the fairway to see it land on the green. He would miss out by a single shot.

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Tags: uspga PGA Tour PGA Championship PGA

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