Stat attack!: PGA Championship review

By John AntoniniAugust 11, 2014, 2:07 am

It was well past gloaming at the PGA when Rory McIlroy won his second straight major and the fourth of his career.

Even if it was hard to see, there was no doubt the fans in Louisville saw something special.

If this victory wasn't a coronation of Rory McIlroy as one of the game’s all-time greats, he can certainly lay claim to being one of golf’s greatest young players.

He is the third-youngest player to win four majors in the modern era (since the inception of the Masters). He is the fifth player to win multiple majors in the same season at age 25 or younger. He is also the fourth player to win multiple PGA Championships before age 30.

And looking at the careers of the players he's being listed with, it's safe to say he's far from done.

Youngest players to win four majors in the modern era

 Player Age Fourth major
 Tiger Woods 24 years, six months, 24 days 2000 British Open
 Jack Nicklaus 25 years, 2 days, 21 months 1965 Masters
 Rory McIlroy 25 years, 3 months, 6 days 2014 PGA Championship
 Seve Ballesteros 27 years, 3 months, 14 days 1984 British Open

Multiple professional majors in one year at age 25 or younger

 Year Player Age Majors
 2014 Rory McIroy 25 British Open, PGA Championship
 2000 Tiger Woods 24 U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship
 1963 Jack Nicklaus 23 Masters, PGA Championship
 1926 Bobby Jones 24 U.S. Open, British Open
 1922 Gene Sarazen 20 U.S. Open, PGA Championship

Players with two PGA Championships before age 30

 Player PGA wins
 Rory McIlroy 2012, 2014
 Tiger Woods 1999, 2000
 Gene Sarazen 1922, 1923
 Walter Hagen 1921, 1924

McIlroy didn't run away from this field the way he did at his first two majors (2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship), or even his win at the 2014 British Open, where he held a six-stroke lead entering the final round, but he was never really threatened despite a two-stroke victory.

No, this time McIlroy had to claw his way through 72 tough holes, and made his way back from a three-stroke deficit midway through Sunday.

That comeback began with a birdie on the seventh hole, but really took flight on the par-5 10th hole when he hit a line drive with a fairway wood on his second shot that landed less than 10 feet from the hole.

McIlroy made the putt for eagle. It was a far cry from the first time he played the 10th (a double-bogey 7 on Thursday) and began what would be another back-nine charge for McIlroy.

He shot 32 on holes 10-18 Sunday and finished at 12-under for the week on the back, a set of holes that included six of the week's eight toughest holes.

It was the performance of the week on the back and it's worth noting that the last two PGA winners at Valhalla (Mark Brooks in 1996 and Tiger Woods in 2000) also led the field in back-nine scoring.

Scoring breakdown by nine among the PGA Championship leaders

 Player Front nine Back nine Total
 Rory McIlroy -4 -12 -16
 Phil Mickelson -10 -5 -15
 Rickie Fowler -8 -6 -14
 Henrik Stenson -10 -4 -14

McIlroy was the longest hitter off the tee at Valhalla, and he also nailed his approach shots, finishing fifth in the field in proximity to the hole on approach shots. He was also in the top 10 in the field in driving accuracy (hitting 41 of 56 fairways) and scrambling, where he missed the green and still made par or better almost three-fourths of the time.

Statistics for the leaders at the PGA Championship

 Player Distance Accuracy GIR Prox. to hole Scrambling Str. gained/putt.
 Rory
 McIlroy
315.6 (1) 73.21% (T-10) 69.44% (T-14) 30' 2" (5) 72.73% (T9) 1.093 (12)

 Phil
 Mickelson

290.8 (34) 62.50 (T-48) 63.89 (T-42) 32' 3" (17) 69.23 (T-19) 1.703 (6)
 Henrik
 Stenson
290.6 (35) 71.43 (T-17) 70.83 (13) 35' 9" (46) 71.43 (T-12) 2.291 (1)
 Rickie
 Fowler
302.6 (6) 67.86 (T-32) 66.66 (T-30) 34' 10" (36) 70.83 (14) 1.057 (13)

McIlroy joined Tiger Woods (2000 and 2006) as the only players to win the Summer Slam (British, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA) since the WGC events were created in 1999. He also joins Woods and Padraig Harrington as the only players since 1999 to win the British Open and the PGA Championship in the same year.

Players who have won the British Open and the PGA Championship in the same  year

 Year Player
 2014 Rory McIlroy
 2008 Padraig Harrington
 2006 Tiger Woods
 2000 Tiger Woods
 1994 Nick Price
 1924 Walter Hagen

McIlroy's victory shouldn't detract from what Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler accomplished at Valhalla. It was the ninth runner-up finish in a major for Mickelson, and it was enough for him to qualify for his 10th U.S. Ryder Cup team. For Fowler it was the fifth time this year he finished in the top five in a major championship, something only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have done in the past.

Most runner-up finishes in majors

 Player Runner-ups
 Jack Nicklaus 19
 Arnold Palmer 10
 Phil Mickelson 9
 Sam Snead 8
 Greg Norman 8
 Tom Watson 8

Players with top-five finishes in all four majors in one year 

 Year Player Masters U.S. Open British Open PGA
 2014 Rickie Fowler 5 T2 T2 T3
 2005 Tiger Woods Won 2 Won T4
 2000 Tiger Woods 5 Won Won Won
 1972 Jack Nicklaus T3 T4 4 Won
 1971 Jack Nicklaus T2 2 T5 Won

 

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 5:30 pm

Tiger Woods held sole possession of the lead Sunday afternoon, but settled with an even-par 71 and finished three shots behind the champion.


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'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.

Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.

“Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”

Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.

With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.

“The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”

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Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 3:42 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We're compiling their missives below:

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.


Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.