9 Takeaways From The 2019 Major Championship Season
Now with the major season firmly in the books, we thought it was the perfect time to recap all the goings-on over the past few months and consider the main talking points with a list of takeaways from each of 2019's majors.
The four events played over four months brought us many talking points: a quartet of worthy champions; several impressive performances; personal triumphs over adversity; bitter disappointments; and everything in between.
So then, without further ado, check out our list of 9 takeaways from the 2019 major golf season and let us know your thoughts below.
Tiger Woods is Back!
In what was arguably the greatest comeback in sporting history, Tiger Woods managed to defy the odds and capture a 15th major title at Augusta National back in April.
The fifth Green Jacket was welcomed almost more passionately than each of the others combined. Not one of us knew whether the great man could get back to his major-winning best. Tiger didn't know either. Despite the uncertainty, on the evening of April 14th, the answer came in impressive style.
Hit the comments below with your alternative 'greatest comeback' suggestions.
Brooks Goes Back-to-Back (Again)
Last year Brooks Koepka had already joined the list of elite golfers who had managed to go back-to-back at the same major championship with his U.S. Open win. He would arrive at Bethpage Black for the PGA Championship with the chance to achieve that same feat for a second time.
An opening 63 proved a timely reminder to the field of Koepka's major prowess. Heading into Sunday's final round, the nearest challengers sat seven strokes adrift and, despite five bogeys in the last eight holes, Koepka would easily keep hold of the Wanamaker Trophy for another year.
Woodland Stars at Pebble Beach
At the 119th U.S. Open, most of the pre-tournament chatter centred around Pebble Beach's return to the major calendar; Koepka's three-peat; Tiger's hunt for no.16; and another tilt at the career grand slam for Phil Mickelson.
Flying rather more under the radar was the world number 24 ranked American, Gary Woodland. With a career-best major finish (T-6) at the PGA Championship back in September 2018, evidence was pointing towards a real chance of Woodland breaking his major duck before too long. He duly obliged, winning by three shots over Koepka whose attempt at three-peat history came up just short.
Woodland's mental strength was inspired by his biggest fan, Amy Bockerstette...
Lowry Ensures Irish Eyes Are Smiling
The most recent major is, of course, the most easily recollected but Shane Lowry's win at the 148th Open Championship will live long in the memory for many reasons besides.
The Irishman's level of play was 'other-worldly' while the boisterous home support was as impressive as Royal Portrush's setting on the stunning north Antrim coast. The galleries cheered every shot en route to a stunning 63 on Saturday and were in raptures when Lowry finally got his hands on the Claret Jug - his maiden major trophy.
Rory Comes Up Short
The 2019 major season started like every other since 2015 for Rory McIlroy - with a never-ending discussion about the career grand slam as the Masters Tournament approached.
A final round 68 was as good as it got for the Northern Irishman as three rounds in the 70s ended his quest for a Green Jacket for another year. The pressure may subside a little for Rory in 2020 as he will share the pre-tournament spotlight with Tiger Woods who will chase Jack Nicklaus' record of six Masters victories.
He also managed two top-10s at Bethpage Black and Pebble Beach before rallying superbly during his second round at Royal Portrush to miss the cut by a solitary shot.
4 Majors in 4 Months Criticised
The dust had scarcely settled on Lowry's Open Championship win before some of the biggest names in golf came out to criticise the decision to make changes to the major schedule for 2019.
The move meant that the PGA Championship switched to May and led to four majors in four months. That now means we are all 'majorless' until next April's Masters comes around. Hmmmmm.
Tiger Fails to Challenge Post-Augusta
Tiger's win at Augusta National was as good as it got during his 2019 major appearances. Two missed cuts at both The Open and the PGA Championship came and went, while he never really featured at any stage at Pebble Beach.
In the lead-up to each of the four major championships next year, the 15-time major winner may play a little more to ensure he's as tournament-ready as possible. With that said, much will depend on his body's ability to withstand the rigours of additional competitive golf. Time will tell.
USGA Finally Get it Right
When it comes to the U.S. Open, some of us golf fans love to see the world's best golfers struggle as much as possible - it must be the sadists in us. With that said, when aiming for a true golfing challenge, if you take it too far you can end up with plainly unfair golfing conditions. The USGA have struggled to provide a fair golfing test over the past number of years but, thankfully, this did change in 2019.
They were assisted by Mother Nature as the winds were about as calm as you would ever expect to find at Pebble Beach for the four days of play. This along with forgiving course conditions meant we were treated to some great golf and a highly deserving champion emerged at the end of proceedings.
Royal Portrush Shines on Open Return
Returning to Northern Ireland after 68 years, the 2019 Open Championship was one of the most eagerly anticipated editions for many years. One of the standout reasons for this was the sheer natural beauty that awaited the competing golfers and the watching masses around the world.
The north Antrim coast is one of the most beautiful spots on the British Isles, while the Dunluce Links course promised to test each golfer's links golf armoury. It did not disappoint.
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