As the golfing year edges towards its close we thought we would reminisce a little and take a look back at how the four major championships of 2018 were won, while giving another nod of appreciation to the glorious victors.
So then, here's a recap of the 2018 major season for you to feast upon as the festive season approaches. We've even thrown in a list of the 2019 major venues as a bit of an 'FYI'...
Masters 2018 (Augusta National)
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia
2018 Champion: Patrick Reed
Back in April of this year, the season's first major took place upon the hallowed fairways of Augusta National in Georgia.
Seen as only having an outside chance when he teed it up on Thursday, American Patrick Reed outlasted the field to capture his maiden major and got his very own Green Jacket
Before his exploits at the Masters, Reed was best known for his Ryder Cup performances and for his resultant nickname "Captain America". Though he had failed to get over the line in previous major championships, the then world number 24 held his game together brilliantly with real grit and determination to eventually finish one shot ahead of Rickie Fowler and two ahead of Jordan Spieth.
We won't be surprised to see further major glory for Reed in years to come. For now, check out the highlights of his final round at Augusta National below...
U.S. Open (Shinnecock Hills)
Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka
2018 Champion: Brooks Koepka
Despite a slow start to 2018 owing to a troublesome wrist injury, Brooks Koepka arrived at Shinnecock Hills in New York back in June with a real appetite to defend the title he had won just 12 months previous.
During the final round, Koepka would have to battle fellow American Dustin Johnson whom he had been neck-and-neck with for the previous three rounds, as well as attempting to fend off concerted challenges from Masters champion Patrick Reed and the talented Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.
Koepka managed to hold off all challengers and became the first player in 29 years to win the tournament in back-to-back years since Curtis Strange in 1988-'89. Furthermore, he is only the fourth golfer since World War II to win 2 U.S. Open titles before turning 30, joining Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Jack Nicklaus.
The Open (Carnoustie Golf Links)
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth
2018 Champion: Francesco Molinari
At this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, Francesco Molinari made golfing history by becoming the first ever Italian major winner, and there could hardly have been a more popular winner of the season's penultimate major championship.
The Italian number one was in great form heading into the four days of play and eventually defied the odds to finish two strokes clear of the field amidst a stunning run of 36 holes without a single dropped shot.
A resurgent Tiger Woods managed to hold the tournament lead partway through the final round, but Molinari was imperious throughout and, as others faltered, he closed to a final round 69 and it was enough to secure the Claret Jug.
PGA Championship (Bellerive Country Club)
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas
2018 Champion: Brooks Koepka
After taking the U.S. Open trophy back in June, and on the basis of an ever-growing reputation in the game, Brooks Koepka teed it up at Bellerive Country Club as one of the hot favourites.
As the watching golfing world briefly attempted to get to grips with the possibility of a first major for Tiger Woods since 2008, the back-to-back U.S. Open champion handled the 'Tiger Effect' admirably to capture his third career major title.
The second round 63 that had him positioned perfectly heading into 'Moving Day' was, of course, the highlight but his final round was that worthy of a champion. As many players in behind were applying the pressure (including Tiger) Koepka held his nerve to get the job done.
2019's Major Venues
So, as 2018 draws to a close, our thoughts turn to the four 'big ones' in 2019. Next year, in a break from tradition, the PGA Championship will be the second major on the calendar., with The Open wrapping things up towards the end of the summer.
The Masters. Augusta National. Georgia, USA. 11 - 14 April 2019
PGA Championship. Bethpage Black. New York, USA. 13-19 May 2019
U.S. Open. Pebble Beach Golf Links. California, USA. 13-16 June 2019
The Open. Royal Portrush. Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. 19-22 July 2019.
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