August 4, 2020

PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park: The Players

As this week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park gets set to tee off, we thought we’d take a look at some of the facts and figures heading into the championship, courtesy of Elias Sports 

  • Brooks Koepka is seeking a third consecutive PGA Championship title. The only player to win the Wanamaker Trophy three years in a row was Walter Hagen, who won four consecutive PGA Championship titles from 1924 to 1927 – back when the event followed a match-play format.  Here are the other players to win a particular major tournament three times in a row: Young Tom Morris (Open Championship, 1868-1872, four straight, with no event held in 1871), Jaime Anderson (Open Championship, 1877-1879), Bob Ferguson (Open Championship, 1880-1882), Willie Anderson (U.S. Open, 1903-1905) and Peter Thomson (Open Championship, 1954-56). In addition, Ben Hogan won the US Open in 1948, 1950 and 1951, but did not compete in the 1949 event as he recovered from his automobile accident.
  • Koepka has finished among the top 10 in each of the last five majors in which he has competed. It’s the longest such streak since Jason Day had five consecutive top-10 finishes in majors starts, bookended by the 2015 and 2016 US Opens.  No player has had six or more consecutive top-10 major finishes since Vijay Singh had seven straight, from 2004 to 2006.
  • Koepka has won four major championships, bookended by the 2017 U.S. Open and the 2019 PGA Championships – a span over which he competed in eight majors.  Since WWII, only three other players won four majors over a span of eight attempts: Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, most recently from 2006-2008.  A win at this week’s event would give him five major victories over a span of 11 attempts.  Over the last 100 years, only five men have accomplished that feat: Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, most recently from 2000-2003.  Note that Jack Nicklaus is not on that list.
  • The last official stroke-play PGA TOUR event held at TPC Harding Park was the 2005 WGC-American Express in 2005.  That event was won by Tiger Woods, ultimately in a two-hole playoff over John Daly after both players finished 72 holes at 270 strokes (-10).  Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson finished two strokes back.  Tiger started the final round two strokes back of third-round leader Daly, but charged to the top of the leaderboard after birdieing the 10th, 11th and 12th holes on Sunday.  No other player birdied each of those three holes in the final round.

 

  • Tiger Woods is the only player with more than one major victory played in the state of California (2000 and 2008 U.S. Opens, at Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, respectively). Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club) and Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S Open at Pebble Beach) are the only players in the field this week who could join him on that list.
  • Tiger, who won at least one major in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, could become the first golfer to win a major in each of four decades.
  • Eight of the last 10 PGA Championships were won by players under 30 years old.   That’s the highest such total among the four majors, ahead of the U.S. Open (six of last 10 winners were under 30), the Masters (four of last 10) and Open Championship (three of last 10).
  • Justin Thomas will be playing his first major tournament as the OWGR #1.  He did not compete in a major during the four weeks he was ranked first overall from May 13 to June 9, 2018. Over the last 10 years, here’s how other #1s fared in their first major championship played as the top-ranked golfer in the world: Martin Kaymer (2011 Masters, CUT), Luke Donald (2011 US Open, t-45th), Adam Scott (2014 US Open, t-9th),  Rory McIlroy (2014 PGA Championship, Won),  Jason Day (2016 Masters, t-10th), Dustin Johnson (2017 US Open, CUT), Justin Rose (2019 Masters, CUT), Brooks Koepka (2019 US Open, 2nd).  Note that following recent former #1s never started a major with that distinction: Lee Westwood, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm.        
  • Most Top-10 finishes at major tournaments without a victory, among those players who are currently under 50 years old: Lee Westwood (19 Top 10s, 47 years old), Matt Kuchar (12, 42 years old), Rickie Fowler (11, 31 years old), Brandt Snedeker (9, 39 years old) and Paul Casey (9, 43  years old).