After Further Review: 96th PGA Championship

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the greatness of Rory McIlroy and the 96th PGA Championship, decisions made by PGA of America officials, Rickie Fowler’s continuing improvement and why golf can be better on TV than in person.

Rory McIlroy may, in fact, be the transcendent player many believed he was when he won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight strokes. All along, McIlroy has dismissed comparisons to Tiger Woods, figuring after that breakthrough victory at Congressional that the last 13 majors would be the hardest to win. But his gritty performance on Sunday at the PGA Championship was his fourth major victory in his last 14 Grand Slam starts and makes him the third-youngest, behind Woods and Jack Nicklaus, to reach that total. “It’s always hard to compare players,” said Henrik Stenson, who tied for third at Valhalla. “But if he’s not the same, he’s not far behind.” – Rex Hoggard

The laminated listing of TV channels in my room at the media hotel in downtown Louisville this week showed a curiously intriguing entry:


To my chagrin (and yes, I checked), there is no network which continuously plays classic golf tournaments on a loop, giving us unending entertainment to while away the hours. If there was, though, the 96th PGA Championship would be immediately added to the rotation.

After a year that included three majors of varying forms of lack of drama, the golf gods finally paid us back with a final round for the ages. Big names, juicy plot lines and spectacular shotmaking created a Sunday afternoon frenzy that transitioned into Sunday evening.

It will forever be remembered as a classic. – Jason Sobel

People who complain that poor decisions were made before seeing the final outcome drive me bonkers. After the 1-hour, 51-minute weather delay Sunday at the PGA Championship you couldn’t swing a dead cat without running into someone fussing at the PGA of America for not moving up tee times. A Monday finish looked likely. If a playoff was necessary we absolutely would’ve seen action on Monday. I get it. In the end it all worked out, we crowned a worthy champion and no travel plans were altered. Doesn’t necessarily mean the PGA did the correct thing but the point is things like this are not worth worrying over an ounce. Find something else to fuss about. – Jay Coffin

Back in January, Rickie Fowler made the innocent remark that he wanted to be known more for his big game than his garish clothes. He linked up with the best swing coach in the game. He lopped off his famous locks. He stopped wearing the Crayola costume every Sunday. And after yet another top-5 finish in a major, it’s clear that the transformation is complete. When Fowler wins a major next season, it’ll be because of what he experienced on the back nine Sunday at Valhalla. For the first time in his career he felt the sting of a major lost, and it will provide all the motivation he needs in the offseason to take the next (and final) step. – Ryan Lavner

Maybe this was common sense and I just had to experience it first hand to actually get it. But golf on TV is way better than attempting to watch it in person. Don’t get me wrong, the experience is pretty cool; no other major sport allows you to get so close to your favorite athletes. I could’ve reached out and given Rory a pat on the back today (and subsequently got arrested) on the third hole. But I didn’t, nor did anyone in the crowd around me, have any idea of what was going on. I was lucky enough that I could go back to the media center and watch one of the best final rounds of a major that I can remember in some time. The spectators had to stick it out, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever they happened to be following and just guessing about everyone else. I’m not saying you shouldn’t experience live golf ever, I’m just saying golf, as with almost anything these days, is better with a remote in your left hand, a frosty refreshment in your right, your butt on a couch and your eyes on the 60-inch screen in front of you. – Jason Crook

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