After Further Review: Walker's gamble pays off


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds. 

On Jimmy Walker's decision to go for the par-5 18th in two ...

Jimmy Walker’s club selection and approach shot on the 72nd hole certainly drew some murmurs and gasps from the crowds lining the fairway at Baltusrol, but it was without question the right play.

Walker was 287 yards from the par-5 green after taking iron off the tee to the lake guarding the left side, but he decided to wail on a 3-wood in the hopes of getting it up near the putting surface. He was keenly aware of the situation, knew he needed par to win his first major and reasoned that 19 times out of 20 he could card the score required to lift the trophy by going for the green.

While that math doesn’t always pan out – just ask Rory McIlroy, who was about 100 yards closer on Friday and still managed to make a bogey to miss the cut – it was the right call for Walker, an aggressive player whose confidence played a big role in getting him into a position to win.

Sometimes we’ll watch players adjust strategy to the situation, and often it can be a byproduct of simply overthinking it. Walker was swinging well, and he trusted that his normal process would carry him through a very unique situation. That decision paid off, and now he has the hardware to prove it. – Will Gray

On what separates the PGA from the other majors ...

For a tournament that sometimes appears to be searching for an identity among the game’s real “Big Four,” that would be the Grand Slam foursome, there has emerged a collection of personality traits for the PGA Championship.

The Masters is the major everyone awaits, the U.S. Open the toughest test, The Open is always a match against Mother Nature and, as this week proved, the PGA is major championship golf’s fairest test.

With this week’s unforgiving forecast things could have easily gone wrong, with players and officials scrambling to complete the event on schedule, but once again the PGA and Baltusrol identified the week’s best player. – Rex Hoggard

On the PGA finishing as scheduled ...

"They toed the line and got away with it, but it could've looked really bad for them. They played with fire and they won."

That was Billy Horschel on the decision by the PGA of America to have players competing on a rain-soaked Baltusrol golf course in the second round, but it encapsulates the whole weekend considering how close this tournament came to a Monday or possibly Tuesday finish.

Thanks to some luck with the Sunday weather, an unbelievable grounds crew who worked through the night and an exciting finish put on by Jimmy Walker and Jason Day, the history books won't remember the potential disaster, but maybe it will stick with the PGA of America the next time they decide to tempt fate.

If the R&A can move up tee times and go off split tees to avoid afternoon storms at The Open, so can the PGA.

The golf gods called in a favor to Mother Nature on Sunday, but we all know how fickle the golf gods can be. Maybe next time the PGA will leave them out of it. – Jason Crook