The final major of the 2015 professional golf season has come and gone. The PGA Championship of this year was held at the Whistling Straits course in the state of Wisconsin. This was the 97th edition of the famous major and victory was claimed by the Australian golfer Jason Day, earning the 27-year-old his first every major title.
The tournament itself was tightly-contested in the early rounds, but Day soon established a lead that was simply insurmountable, crushing the dreams of players like Jason Spieth and Rory McIlroy who both went into this tournament as the hot favorites. It was certainly a major to remember, with records being broken and a new number one arriving on the leaderboards.
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Jason Day went into this tournament rated at 25-1. He had enjoyed a pretty good year leading up to the final major, having performed admirably at the British Open in particular, despite just missing out on the playoff for a chance of victory. In minor tournaments throughout the year, Day had proven himself as a real challenger by finishing in the top ten several times. He walked into the Whistling Straits PGA Championship of 2015 with the potential to pull off a few surprises and he did just that with a truly remarkable performance to earn himself his first ever major victory.
His previous highest ever finish at the PGA Championship was tied for eighth, while he had come close to a major title in recent years with a second-place finish at the U.S. Open of 2011 and a third place finish at The Masters 2013 being some of the highlights of his career.
Jason Day Wins His First Major
This victory had been a long-time coming for Jason Day and he earned it in style. Thunderstorms interrupted the second round, but it ended with Day in second place, just behind his compatriot Matt Jones, who would go on to struggle in the later rounds and actually finished outside the top ten. Day’s lead was established in the third round after a good performance that saw him land eight birdies. He was two strokes ahead of Spieth heading into the final round where another solid performance saw him finish the tournament as champion, breaking the major scoring record that Tiger Woods set back in 2000. Day finished the championship with a stunning 20-under-par score, beating Spieth’s 17-under-par quite conclusively.
After a complicated year in which he was diagnosed with vertigo and actually collapsed during a hole of the U.S. Open, Day earned himself a fantastic victory that will live long in the memory. His performance did stutter from time to time when he notably dropped a few shots on the 8th and 15th holes, but he made up for every mistake he made with some excellent strokes.
Spieth Takes Over World Number 1 With Second Place Finish
Going into the tournament, all of the talk was about Jordan Spieth, rather than Jason Day. The young American has had an incredible year, breaking several records as he won The Masters and became the youngest U.S. Open winner in nearly a century with an incredible performance. Fans and critics alike were talking about the youngster’s chances of making history with a grand slam ahead of the British Open, but the Texan just missed out on victory and ended the tournament tied for fourth place.
Heading into the PGA Championship, fans across the U.S. were hoping to see Spieth become just the third golfer in history to win three majors in the same year. He could have joined an illustrious club that currently contains just Tiger Woods and Ben Hogan. However, it wasn’t to be as Spieth finished in second place, three strokes shy of Day’s score.
One thing that Spieth can celebrate after this tournament is his new status as the world number one. Rory McIlroy previously held the honor and put in a decent showing considering he is just returning from a troublesome ligament injury. The Northern Irishman finished in 17th place with a score of nine-under-par which simply wasn’t good enough for him to retain his ranking. McIlroy spent 93 weeks in the number one spot but Spieth was more than happy to take it from him.
Filling out the other top positions were the South African Branden Grace in third (15-under-par) and the Englishman Justin Rose claimed fourth (14-under-par). The title belongs to Day, however, and fans watched with joy as he embraced his wife and son after setting a new scoring record and enjoying the finest victory of his career. The championship earns Day the number three spot in the world rankings and makes him the 11th Australian golfer to win a major.
Not since Adam Scott’s victory at The Masters of 2013 have Australian golf fans had such a cause for celebration, and this victory will be particularly sweet for Day’s coach Colin Swatton who has seen his young prodigy rise through the ranks after years of hard work.