Despite a crowded Sunday leaderboard filled with veterans of the Tour, 23-year-old Collin Morikawa was the winner of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. With uncertainty around other sports headlining the sports news cycle, Morikawa provided a distraction, staying calm with the spotlight on him. His third win on the PGA Tour could not have come on a bigger stage. He joins a strong list of 23-year-old PGA Championship winners: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, which potentially gives a glimpse of things to come for the young west-coaster.
With six golfers tied for the lead late on Sunday, it seemed like it could be anyone’s to win. But with two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Saturday leader Dustin Johnson faltering (if you can call a 68 faltering), Morikawa’s path to the title opened up. A strong fight from Paul Casey was rendered moot after Morikawa’s incredible shot on the drivable par-four 16th hole. One eagle putt later, he was an untouchable 13-under-par, allowing him to coast to victory.
But the fun down the stretch on Sunday was not the only thing worth watching. Here are three big things from this weekend’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.
Our preview of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park described Bryson DeChambeau as “the single most entertaining golfer on the planet right now,” and he proved why this week. Although he wasn’t berating cameramen or arguing with officials, he was playing some great golf. With two four-under-par 66s over the weekend, he managed to get his first top-five finish in a major.
The highlight of his tournament had to be the insane 95-foot putt he made to finish his round Saturday. Although a very different kind of bomb than the ones he’s been used to recently, it was a welcome end to a strong moving day that put him in contention on Sunday.
Even with the strong play, Bryson DeChambeau couldn’t help but make some headlines while he wasn’t playing. Thursday his driver shaft snapped after one particularly violent swing. While it seemed like a huge blow for the long driver, the rules of golf and over-preparation saved him. Rule 4.1a of the USGA’s Rules of Golf states that any conforming club damaged during the round can be repaired. Thanks to an extra shaft in his car’s trunk, he was ready to go on the next hole. Now he will hope to keep focusing on growing the game and not yelling at cameramen.
Film Everything, All the Time
A few weeks back at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, golf’s favorite bodybuilder said, “I think we need to start protecting our players out here compared to showing a potential vulnerability and hurting someone’s image,” after yelling at a cameraman, basically advocating for less camera coverage. If nothing else, the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park proved just how wrong he was.
The featured group of the first two rounds saw Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas playing together. Thanks to ESPN+’s constant coverage of the group, viewers were able to get an inside look into a bit of their conversation. The gist of it is that Tiger hates the tiger-like orange and black colors on Rory’s bag because he hates the San Francisco Giants, while Rory mentions his support of Manchester United (for 2020-21 Premier League coverage, be on the lookout here). Then Tiger says he thinks the MLB is one more outbreak away from shutting down and there’s no way football gets played. While nothing groundbreaking was said, it made a ton of buzz and had the viewer feeling like they were inside the ropes.
Tiger and Rory’s playing partner that day wasn’t left out of the fun, though. A frustrating week for Justin Thomas ended with an even-par 70, leaving him at one-under for the tournament. The emotion boiled over after a close miss, leading to an uncensored moment that CBS might have liked to avoid (SFW version here, NSFW version here). While every child watching had their innocence shattered, the online response has been nothing but positive. It seems like the average golfer loves to see the pros look like them every once in a while.
Despite seemingly being the most relaxed guy on the Tour, Brooks Koepka raised some eyebrows this week for his post-round comments Saturday. Saying his supposed good friend Dustin Johnson “only won one” major brought out a few detractors. Rory McIlroy was the most prominent, saying, “Sort of hard to knock a guy who’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”
There’s some history between the two, with Koepka saying they didn’t have a rivalry because McIlroy hasn’t won a major since Brooks joined the fold. This could have contributed to McIlroy’s animosity towards the then defending PGA Champion.
It does seem that Koepka’s comments were taken a bit out of context, however. Koepka was asked about his chances on Sunday, and his comments on DJ followed words about his own experience. With quite a few guys who had never won a major near the top of the leaderboard, Koepka does have more experience closing these tournaments out. With his four major wins, Johnson’s one win might legitimately seem like it deserves an “only”. Regardless, experience did not win out as Brooks shot a final round 74 on Sunday. Not very Gucci, bruh.
With a new, longer putter in the bag, Tiger seemed poised to make a run at major number 16. While it could’ve been worse, his first major of the year was inconsistent at best. Two 72s between a solid 68 and 67 led to a mediocre one-under-par finish. Sunday showed signs of life, though, so perhaps he’ll be able to make one last run at a major. It seems like it will all come down to putting.
Congrats to Rose Zhang, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. She outlasted defending champion Gabriela Ruffels on the second playoff hole of the match-play final.
Everyone’s picking on Bryson. LPGA star Lexi Thompson made a jab when she hit off of some ants in the middle of the fairway. This was, of course, a reference to DeChambeau’s near death experience with fire ants at the WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Primetime west-coast golf is fun, but it means I miss out on some things. While I was writing this, Collin Morikawa dropped the top of the Wanamaker Trophy during the presentation. The video is here, with a slow-motion version in the replies.
Make sure to check out our PGA page for more updates!