Tiger Woods’ Resurgence Lands PGA Championship Ratings Well Above Par


How could he not?

Before boarding the plan to Houston he told Stuff that his six-under finish at Bellerive Country Club, to finish in a four-way tie for 27th, and pocket US$82,000 (NZ$124,550) in prize-money for the week, had been satisfying, if a little frustrating around the what-might-have-beens. Brooks Koepka, however, wouldn't look in the direction of them. It was utterly reminiscent of Woods in his prime, hitting shots that were unthinkable to the average player, and with an undeniable knack for the moment. The fairy-tale finish at the PGA Championship that everyone seemed to be longing for was taking shape.

The 25-year-old former Florida State star has only made one bogey since. The sentimental favorite was going to conjure up some old magic, and the young and brash phenom was going to wilt.

He hung tough. He responded with birdies on No. 10 and No. 11. In this version, the brawny, confident antihero never blinked.

"At the beginning of the year if you would say I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I'd say with what swing?" Every leaderboard that changed, no matter what hole you were on, you knew what Tiger did, and it's a really fun atmosphere to be in. So it's great to see him playing well. "I don't think it will be rocket science for [me] to figure out what's missing, if anything". They dominated their eras like no one before them or since. "You could hear it, for sure". Woods punched the air in jubilation, seemingly feeding off the gallery's energy.

And in his exhilarating but ultimately futile attempt to catch Koepka at the PGA Championship, Woods got a taste of what it's going to take to get back on top in the majors.

Koepka couldn't help but smile, listening to it unfold. "320 in the air is a like a chip shot to him. That's the new game".

Koepka, 28, who entered the final round with a two-shot lead, fired a Sunday 4-under 66 to finish the tournament at 16 under.

"We didn't mention it at all", said Koepka's caddie, Ricky Elliott. His iron and wedge play have been among the best on the PGA Tour.

"I feel like I'm playing really well, the best I have in a while", he said.

Unfortunately for Big Cat fans, that birdie was immediately followed by a bogey at 14 and it was left to Scott and Koepka to fight out the finish.

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The Slovenian immigrants, a former vehicle dealer and textile factory worker, had been living in the U.S.as permanent residents. Viktor Knavs was a auto salesman in the Slovenian town of Sevnica, while his wife Amalija worked at a textile factory.

A birdie by Woods on 18, and bogey by Adam Scott on the same hole, gave Woods sole claim to second place. Woods' score could have been even better if he had not shot par on the easiest hole on the course.

"I started out great out of the gate", Spieth said.

The fan was not exactly wrong, but it hardly fazed the under-appreciated Koepka. It's some pretty robust company: Gene Sarazen (1922), Ben Hogan (1948), Nicklaus (1980) and Woods (2000).

"I think the referee didn't have the balls to make a decision there and if he did I would have had an easier shot", Lowry said of the decision not to grant him relief again after his initial drop would have left him blocked out by another camera tower.

"I can see he's got that mindset". He's going to be on the team one way or the other, whether he's a vice captain or a player and whichever role he is I'm looking forward to it and I know he is too.

"I'm excited for the next few years". You look at what Dustin [Johnson is] doing, Justin [Thomas], Rory [McIlroy], [Jordan] Spieth.

Getting the best of Koepka sets up as a daunting challenge for Woods, though the 42-year-old, 14-time major victor could easily argue he's been through worse.

Even though Woods, a four-time PGA champ, is used to having a huge following, he was impressed. But this time was different.

But victory at Bellerive means Koepka has won two thirds of the majors he has competed in this year.

In truth, we all could.