Ten Notes to Know: PGA Championship, Final Round

May 20, 2019
Justin Ray
  1. Brooks Koepka shot a 39 on the back nine Sunday but held on for a two-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson. Koepka’s round of 4-over was the highest score to par in the final round of a major championship win since Vijay Singh shot a 4-over-par 76 at the 2004 PGA, held at Whistling Straits. Despite that, Brooks never lost the lead – he became the first wire-to-wire PGA Champion (led with no ties after any round) since Hal Sutton in 1983.
  1. Koepka ranked 41st in the field Sunday in strokes gained tee to green. Despite that, he still led the field in that statistic, and it wasn’t even close: Brooks gained 17.3 strokes on the field tee to green for the week, 3 strokes more than any other player (Gary Woodland was second at 14.3).
  1. With the victory, Koepka became the first player in men’s golf history to hold two back-to-back major championship titles simultaneously. At last year’s U.S. Open, Koepka became the first back-to-back winner since Curtis Strange in 1989. Sunday, he became the first back-to-back PGA Champion since Tiger Woods in 2007. On top of that, he is the only player all-time to win the U.S. Open back-to-back and the PGA back-to-back in a career.
  1. Koepka’s victory was the fourth in his last eight starts in major championships. In the modern era of men’s majors, Koepka, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the only players to accomplish that feat.
  1. Brooks made his 15th career major start at the 2017 U.S. Open, and since then, the floodgates have swung open. Koepka is the first player in men’s golf history to win his first four major championships in a span of two years or less.
  1. Koepka won his second major in less than a year in the state of New York. Brooks is just the fifth player to win multiple major championships in New York in a career, joining Gene Sarazen, Jim Barnes, Hagen and Jones.
  1. Brooks is now the only player under age thirty with four or more major championship victories. He joins Rory McIlroy as the only players under age 40 to win four or more. The only active players with more major championship wins than Koepka are Phil Mickelson (five) and Tiger Woods (fifteen).
  1. With his runner-up finish, Dustin Johnson became the eighth player to finish second in each of the four major championships. The previous player to complete the ‘runner-up slam’ was Louis Oosthuizen at the 2017 PGA Championship. DJ was the only player in the field this week to record four rounds in the 60s.
  1. Jordan Spieth finished tied for third, his best worldwide result since the 2018 Masters. Spieth led the field in strokes gained putting, gaining 10.6 strokes against the field. It was the best strokes gained putting performance of his PGA Tour career.
  1. Koepka will head to Pebble Beach next month looking for his third consecutive U.S. Open victory. The last player to win any major three consecutive years was Peter Thomson, who won three straight Open Championships in 1954, 1955 and 1956. The only player to win the U.S. Open three years in a row is Willie Anderson, who did it in 1903, 1904 and 1905.