1. The best of the best
Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas won the four major championships in 2017. A victory in a major by itself makes it a great year, and any other wins — Spieth has two others, Thomas three — turns it into something special.
But how do you determine who had the best year in the majors, period?
Out of that foursome, only U.S. Open winner Koepka and The Open champion Spieth made the cut in all four majors, with Koepka’s worst finish a tie for 16th at the PGA Championship won by Thomas. He was 11th at the Masters and sixth at The Open.
Given the fallout from his DUI arrest, Woods is probably looking forward to the day the questions return about his back surgery and comeback.
The recovery from fusion surgery was estimated to be slow, with the likelihood of six months passing before he could begin swinging a club.
“Regarding my back, I recently spoke to my surgeon and he’s very pleased with how my fusion is healing,” Woods said in his statement. “I’m doing some light lifting, riding a stationary bike and putting a little.”
From Woods’ Twitter photo with Thomas on Monday, he looks fine. But the process of getting back to golf is going to take time, as expected. If the timeline is correct, Woods is still several weeks away from being able to take full swings.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 15, 2017
5. Reed’s best major
Given his love of the big stage — especially in the team events — Patrick Reed having never finished among the top 10 in a major was a mystery. He finally did so at the PGA Championship and had an outside chance before tying for second, two shots behind Thomas.
Reed, who made his major debut in 2014, admitted there was a learning curve. “My first two years at the majors, I was putting too much pressure on myself,” he said. “I was making them way bigger than they needed to be. They are still golf tournaments. There’s still 72 holes. You’ve got to go out and play some good golf.
“I played the smart, sensible shots all day. I didn’t get ahead of myself. That’s key. That’s kind of what I take from this week.”
6. Presidents Cup boost
Reed’s PGA finish jumped him into ninth place in the U.S. Presidents Cup team standings, and Kuchar moved up to eighth after his tie for ninth. If they can stay there, that would be a big help to U.S. captain Steve Stricker, who will make two at-large selections to fill out the 12-man team after the qualification period ends following the Dell Technologies Championship, the second playoff event. Both are players he would likely pick if they did not automatically qualify.
The Presidents Cup is Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at Liberty National against a team of International players outside of Europe.
Johnson, Spieth, Fowler, Koepka, Reed and Kuchar give the U.S. team plenty of experience. Thomas and Berger are obvious stars who will be on teams for years to come. The question for Stricker will be: Does he pick Phil Mickelson, in 17th position but in poor form, for his veteran leadership and his overall role in the future of Presidents Cup/Ryder Cup teams? Mickelson has played in every Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup dating to 1994.
7. Louis, Louis
Louis Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 Open at St. Andrews, lost in a playoff there in 2015, lost in a playoff at the Masters to Bubba Watson in 2012, was tied for second at the 2015 U.S. Open and now has finished runner-up at the PGA Championship — giving him runner-up finishes in all four major championships. (Greg Norman lost all four in playoffs.) And he had quite the way to express his feelings about it in the aftermath.
Just finished my career grand slam second’s .. “I’ll rise up” pic.twitter.com/083aRityWn
— Louis Oosthuizen (@Louis57TM) August 14, 2017
8. Amazing stat
When Thomas won the PGA Championship three weeks after Spieth’s victory at The Open, it marked the first time since 1923 that different players age 25 or younger won consecutive major championships (Thomas is 24; Spieth turned 24 a week after at The Open). That year, Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open, the first of his seven professional major titles, at Inwood Country Club. Gene Sarazen won the PGA Championship at Pelham Country Club in a match-play final that went to 38 holes. Both players were 21. That year, the U.S. Open was played in June, followed by The Open in July and the PGA in September.
9. Feeling inspiration
Count Berger among those taking motivation from Thomas’ win. Along with Thomas and Spieth, Berger was part of the high school class of 2011.
— Daniel Berger (@DanielBerger59) August 14, 2017