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PGA Championship

08/07/14, Thursday

The good news for the rest of the field at the PGA Championship on Thursday? Rory McIlroy hit a double bogey 7 on the par 5 No. 10.

The bad news? Even with the gaffe, he’s only one shot off the lead.

McIlroy’s 5-under 66 has him sitting a stroke behind co-leaders Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

Westwood started his day with a double bogey, then rattled off eight birdies, including four straight from No. 6 to No. 9.

The 41-year-old Brit is considered one of the best players in the world without a Major championship. He finished third at the PGA in 2009.

The 28-year-old Chappell, ranked 94th on the PGA money list this year,  played a bogey-free round, while the 37-year-old Palmer fired a 5-under 31 on the back nine.

Along with McIlroy tied for fourth are Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk, Edoardo Molinari and Chris Wood. Furyk, despite his one Major coming more than 11 years ago, was the PGA runner-up a year ago.

After doubling 10, McIlroy bogeyed 11 to go from 3-under to even par through 11 holes. He proceeded to birdie the next four holes in succession and added another on 18.

Mikko Ilonen and Jerry Kelly rounded out the Top 10 at 4-under.

The 47-year-old Kelly is quite the surprise with his first-round 67.

His last PGA win came in 2009 at New Orleans, and before that he hadn’t score a victory since July of 2002.

His best finish at the PGA Championship was a tie for 26th in 2011, and he hasn’t finished in the Top 10 of a Major since the 2007 US Open.

Defending champion Jason Dufner had to withdraw from the tournament with a neck injury; and Matt Kuchar pulled out with a bad back.

FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker is one of 15 played at 2-under, along with Phil Mickelson. Mickelson was 3-under at the turn, but had more bogeys (three) than birdies (two) the rest of the way.

Included in the logjam at 1-under are the likes of Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson.

World No. 2 Adam Scott and 21-year-old Jordan Spieth both shot even par 71s, while 64-year-old Tom Watson turned heads with a 1-over 72 on the day.

Watson looked like he was headed for an even-par 71 before bogeying No. 16.

Barely a blip on the radar is 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods, who shot a 3-over 74 to tie for 109th.

He would have been further down the charts, after bogeying his first two holes and sitting at 4-over through 14 but birdied No. 16.

The real “OMG” round among notable players belonged to 44-year-old Angel Cabrera, who staggered to an 11-over 82, going through an agonizing five hole stretch of three bogeys and two double bogeys on the back nine.

08/08/14, Friday

For younger fans of golf who only know Tiger Woods for his infidelity and frequent surgeries, what’s going on in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend is the closest the world of golf has been to Tiger-mania in about a decade.

On a day when the legendary Jack Nickalus said McIlroy could win 15-20 Majors, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman moved into position to win his fourth, firing a 4-under 67 to take over first place at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

McIlroy was 2-under entering the final hole, and smacked an eagle 3 on No. 18 leaving his gallery roaring in approval.

He had to stay hot to stay ahead of Australia’s Jason Day, who recorded Day 2's lowest round, a 6-under 65 that has him tied for second at 8-under with American Jim Furyk,

Day was nearly perfect, his only blemish a bogey on No. 15. Otherwise he compiled five birdies and one eagle on the day.

A pair of Americans – Ryan Palmer and Rickie Fowler – and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen are tied for fourth at 7-under. Fowler sizzled his way to a 5-under 66.

At 6-back are Bernd Wiseberger and Phil Mickelson, who shot a 4-under 67 to stay in contention. Like McIlroy, Mickleson hit an eagle on No. 18.

The cut was set at 1-over, with the biggest names missing it being US Open champion Martin Kaymer (+2), 2013 PGA Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth (+6) and Woods, (+6).

Woods had two birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys in Round 2.

This is the second time in four years that Woods has missed the cut at the PGA Championship.

Between 1997 and mid-2008, Woods played 46 straight Majors and missed just one cut, winning 14 titles.

Since mid-2008,  Woods has played in 20 Majors, but missed six others due to injury or time off.

On the 20 he’s played in, he’s missed three cuts and won zero titles.

08/09/14, Saturday

Five different players rode hot streaks up the leader board to tie Rory McIlroy for first place at one time or another on Saturday at the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

McIlroy turned them all back – just barely – and enters the final round on Sunday with a 1-stroke lead after firing a 4-under 67 to reach 13-under for the tournament.

With rains making the greens slower than normal, McIlroy was joined by a host of players who shot well under par.

Sixteen players shot at least 4-under, and 11 are within five shots of the lead heading to Sunday as McIlroy tries to become the first man since Padraig Harrington in 2007 to win back-to-back Majors.

McIlroy was just 1-under through 14 holes, then rattled off birdies on 15, 16 and 18 to turn things around. He’s a combined 8-under on holes 15-18 so far in the tournament.

His most unlikely challenger is 28-year-old Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who refused to wilt under pressure, firing the day’s best score – a 65- to reach 12-under.

Wiesberger played a bogey-free round and birdied his last three holes in a row. Wiesberger missed the cut at the PGA Championship in both 2012 and 2013.

American Rickie Fowler is all alone in third at 11-under with a 4-under, a stroke ahead of Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

Sunday will be five days short of nine years since Mickelson won the 2005 PGA Championship by a single stroke.

Mickelson was at even par through 12, then rattled off four birdies in the closing five holes.

Four more players are at 9-under, including Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who shot a 67.

08/10/14, Sunday

Like a teenager racing home on curfew, Rory McIlroy battled darkness and his elders to win his fourth Major title, and second in a row, nipping Phil Mickelson by a stroke to capture the 2014 PGA Championship Sunday at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

Calling it the “most satisfying” of his four Major titles, McIlroy took on all comers and became just the fourth man in the last 100 years to win four Majors by age 25 or younger – joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nickalus and Bobby Jones.

It’s McIlroy’s third straight win, and makes him the first man to win both two Majors in a row and the Open Championship and the PGA Championship in the same year since Padraig Harrington in 2007.

The victory was not without controversy. Playing behind Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, McIlroy was allowed to “hit up” twice in a row as the tournament tried to allow him to finish before darkness set in.

Lengthy rain delays saw several players start late.

Fowler and Mickelson, paired together, had no problem with McIlroy and Bernd Wiesberger hitting their tee shots, but neither man was in favor of the second shots coming as well.

PGA officials allowed McIlroy and Wiesberger to hit their second shots as well before Mickelson and Fowler were allowed to finish out the hole – delaying the natural progression of their shots.

McIlroy took a while to get warmed up, sitting at 2-over and out of the lead through six holes.

He turned things around with an eagle on No. 10 that was born from a long rolling shot that just missed the rough by inches.

He followed up with birdies on No. 13 and 17 to finish 3-under for the day at 16-under for the tournament.

Mickleson, who finished in the top 10 of an event for the first time this year, made his charge early, hitting birdies on four of his first nine holes. A bogey on No. 16 cost him a chance to force a playoff.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was also on fire early, at 5-under on the turn to momentarily take the lead, but failing to keep the same intensity down the stretch and winding up tied for third with Fowler at 14-under.

Fowler completed one of the most bizarre Major campaigns in golf history – finishing in the top five of all four tournaments, but failing to win any of them.


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