Justin Thomas' glorious win at Quail Hollow on Sunday past saw the curtain come down on a thoroughly entertaining 2017 major golfing season. After 2016 threw up four individual maiden major winners, it would have been rather foolish to have attempted any predictions related to what this season may bring.
Let’s have a look back at the four principal tournaments this year and remind ourselves of what was, most certainly, a major year to remember.
Sergio’s Green Jacket
If we were to poll our Hole19 community about the most unexpected and/or richly deserved major champion of the year, it’s a safe bet Sergio Garcia's win at Augusta National would come out on top.
It seemed that the major ship had sailed for the Spaniard and, during this year’s championship itself, he looked to be headed for another nearly moment as the 2016 Olympic champion Justin Rose seemed odds-on to become a multiple major winner.
Looking rather relaxed during Sunday’s final round, Garcia quickly gained a three-stroke advantage on Rose - his playing partner for the day - though this was handed back just as rapidly as it had been accumulated. When both walked on to the 13th tee the Englishman had a two-shot lead.
After a poor tee-shot found an unplayable lie behind a bush, Garcia miraculously escaped with a par five and went for everything from 14 to the clubhouse and into the playoff - where he ultimately prevailed. The long wait for a first major title was over.
Sergio proudly displayed his Green Jacket everywhere he could. Check out his appearance on a U.S. chat show below:
Brooks wins at Erin Hills
In June this year, Brooks Koepka added his name a growing list of first-time major winners by landing the 117th U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
The 28-year-old from Florida excelled in the generous golfing conditions offered up by the first-time U.S. Open venue and easily held off the challenges of fellow American Brian Harman and the Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama.
This could well be the first of many major titles for Brooks but it’s possible that the event will be remembered more for the course itself and how detached it was from a true U.S. Open test.
Generous fairways, rain-softened greens and with no wind to speak of, this was about as easy as Erin Hills was ever likely to play. Throw into the mix that the course was playing to the longest yardage in major championship history and all the ingredients were there for one of the big-hitters to take it apart.
Brooks was only too happy to oblige. Catch his winner’s interview on the 18th below:
Spieth closer to ‘Career Grand Slam’
The most impressive aspect of Jordan Spieth’s win at Royal Birkdale was the mental fortitude he displayed to ensure that major redemption would not pass him by. Only 14 months previous the world had witnessed his Masters meltdown as Englishman Danny Willett benefitted to claim his first green jacket and maiden major win.
Shooting four rounds under 70, he eventually took the Claret Jug by three strokes over his compatriot, Matt Kuchar. There was a time in the final round where it seemed to be all unraveling again but Spieth, with a little help from the ‘in-bounds’ driving range, held it together like a true champion for a second wire-to-wire major win.
Back-to-back victories at both Augusta National and Chambers Bay in 2015 suggested the young Texan would scamper to a hoard of major titles with consummate ease. As a key player in golf’s triumvirate of superstars – alongside Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – it was expected that he would be in regular contention for the biggest prizes of the year.
To be fair to the current world number three, he has performed to a higher level than both of his rivals in the last two years and further glory will arrive.
A career grand slam will provide golfing immortality and seems merely a matter of time.
Check out the Champion Golfer of the Year’s post round interview below:
Thomas takes the Wanamaker
In taking the 2017 US PGA Championship with an undeniably impressive performance – thus claiming the gargantuan Wanamaker Trophy – Thomas became the second of the ‘Class of 2011' to a major win, joining his close friend Jordan Spieth.
The young Kentuckian knew that the tournament at Quail Hollow would be his last chance of proving his early season major-winning prediction correct.
The championship itself had been rather low-key until catching fire on the back nine of Sunday’s final round. A tussle between Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama – both playing partners – developed after Kevin Kisner saw his third round advantage frittered away and Thomas took charge in the latter stages.
The ‘Green Mile’ was expertly navigated and we had ourselves an eighth maiden major winner in the last nine events.
Check out the key moments from Justin’s final round below:
How was your 2017 major season? Which win was the most deserved? Who could be the next maiden major winner? Let us know in the comments below.