The 2015 season on the PGA Tour has been a transitional year with many new, young stars emerging atop of the leaderboard week in and week out. This past weekend in the final major tournament of the year, Jason Day claimed the Wanamaker Trophy in the PGA Championship.
Day led by two strokes heading into the final round of play. He appeared to show no sign of weakness from the get-go as he went on to birdie four of his first seven holes. Despite an uncharacteristic “duffed” approach shot on the ninth hole and two bogeys, Day finished his final round at a convincing five-under par. Marking one of the best performances of his career, Day posted a major championship record-breaking four round score of 20-under par on a renowned Pete Dye-designed course, known as Whistling Straits, in Kohler, Wisconsin. The 27 year-old Australian was successful on this fast-paced and firm golf course as a result of his consistent driving distance and greens hit in regulation. Day ranks third on the Tour in driving average and in the top 20 for greens in regulation.
Despite a marquee performance from Jason Day, one of the biggest headlines of the weekend was the continued rise of Jordan Spieth during the 2015 season. A 22 year-old phenom from Dallas, Texas, Spieth won his first two majors this season in the Masters and U.S. Open. In addition, he finished tied for fourth place and one stroke back in the British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland. The near victory in the Open Championship provided motivation for Spieth in the PGA Championship, where he scored 17-under par, a second place finish three strokes back of Day.
In spite of a second place finish, Spieth claimed the number one ranking in the world. “This is as easy a loss as I’ve ever had, because I felt that I not only couldn’t do much about it, as the round went on, I also accomplished one of my life-long goals in the sport of golf,” Spieth said in an interview to Golf.com on Sunday.
Of Tour players to make the cut in all four majors this season, Spieth finished in first place with a cumulative score of 54-under par (Tiger Woods formerly held the record at 53-under par), almost 20 shots better than his closest competitor. Spieth’s rise to prominence this season has been attributed to his putting around the greens, especially in the 20-25 foot range. Dustin Johnson also performed very well in major championship play during the 2015 campaign, finishing in the top seven for the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
As Tiger Woods missed the cut in three of the four majors this year and continues to struggle with injuries, swing issues, mental toughness and the inability to score consistently, it is safe to say that his reign has inevitably come to an end. With the FedEx Cup approaching in the coming weeks, expect to see the likes of Day, Johnson and Spieth to continue to shine this season and make noise on the Tour for many years to come.
Contact J.T. Mehr at [email protected]