What I Learned Covering the PGA Championship

There’s a first time for everything, especially this year.
Jimmy Walker capped off an exciting 2016 majors season on Sunday when he won the PGA Championship, the fifth time four different winners have taken golf’s biggest tournaments since 1959. Danny Willett won the Masters, Dustin Johnson prevailed at the U.S. Open, and the British Open went to Henrik Stenson.

Because of rain, the 36 holes played by the leaders on Sunday was one of the longest days in PGA Championship history. Walker did not make a single bogey over the last 28 holes to win by one shot over Jason Day. Walker was able to keep his cool, even after Day made an unlikely eagle on the 72nd hole, forcing Walker to make par on the 18th hole to win the tournament. Walker pulled it off by sinking a three-foot putt and raising the Wannamaker Trophy overhead soon after.

Jason Day is an excellent sport.
Nobody was watching Walker’s last putt more closely than Day. Day’s brilliant eagle on 18 brought him to within one stroke of Walker and definitely made the conclusion of the PGA Championship exciting. Day was clearly hoping for a chance at a playoff, but after seeing Walker’s putt drop in, Day immediately congratulated Walker and his wife, giving Walker credit for an impressive victory when he found him on the green and said, “Good stuff, mate.”

“It was nice to get the eagle, just to try and make Jimmy think about it,” Day said, “but obviously, Jimmy just played too good all day.” Day’s reaction and sportsmanship is typical of PGA professionals and sets a great example for the rest of us.

These pros don’t rest! The 2016 Summer Olympics are next, and you will see many familiar faces heading to Rio.
Golf will be back at the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, and the PGA Championship featured 32 of the 60 male players who have earned a spot in the Olympic Games. There are 41 countries included in the start list for the men’s competition, which will take place from August 11–14. The women’s event will be from August 17–20. When these Olympic athletes hit the newly designed course in Rio de Janeiro, many kids all over the world will likely be watching golf for the first time.

We will see a couple of 2016 major champions looking for gold, as Stenson will represent Sweden, and Willett will represent Great Britain.
Team USA will be the only country with four male golfers in Rio. Bubba Watson (No. 6 in the world, No. 1 in the Olympic rankings), Rickie Fowler (No. 7, No. 3), Patrick Reed (No. 14, No. 7), and Matt Kuchar (No. 17, No. 8) make up the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Golf Team. Combined, the four Americans have an impressive total of 23 PGA Tour victories and have won two majors. Watson is particularly excited to head to Rio. He even unveiled a special jet pack for the occasion recently.

Bubba Watson at the PGA Championship
Never refer to an under-par round as a “subpar performance.”
Although they may literally mean the same thing, one of them really doesn’t work in golf and just sounds bad!

Paul Casey finished in the top 10 at the PGA Championship this week by shooting four rounds in the 60s. This was a very impressive feat for the English pro.
I interviewed him after his first round at Baltusrol, when he finished with an impressive 1 under par 69, which, while under par, was certainly not “subpar!”  

Paul Casey at the PGA Championship
Paul was a good sport, a fun interview, and definitely not “subpar!” In fact, my entire experience covering the PGA Championship at Baltusrol exceeded expectations. I am looking forward to tuning in to see golf played at the Olympics and to teeing it up myself soon.

Photograph by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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