Jimmy Walker won his first Major with a one-shot victory over Jason Day at the 2016 USPGA Championship
Jimmy Walker Wins USPGA Championship
Jimmy Walker played 36 holes on Sunday to win the 98th USPGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey by a single stroke from World Number One, and defending USPGA Champion, Jason Day.
Walker has won five times on the PGA Tour and also appeared in a Ryder Cup, so is certainly someone who the golf world would expect to win a Major.
However he has had a disappointing season with 5 missed cuts and without a top 10 since mid June, it is a shock that he won this week.
Jason Day and Henrik Stenson were expected to be the guys to gallop away from the field, much like Stenson and Phil Mickelson did at Royal Troon at the Open Championship.
A holed bunker shot on the 10th followed by a long birdie putt on 11 meant that Walker was in the mood to fight for the title.
Jason Day really fought to hold onto the title he won in 2015 and after bogeying the first two holes came back with a couple of birdies, but he left his biggest moment to his final iron shot on 18 which set up a dramatic eagle and to move just a shot behind Walker.
Walker held his nerve to par the 72nd hole and to win by a single shot and the Texan was humble after his victory was confirmed.
“I felt a ton of support from the crowd and it was amazing. Jason Day is a true champion, it was a battle all day.”
The other main character in this drama was the golf course. Baltusrol is one of the oldest and most highly respected layouts in the States and with the best golfers in town so the New Jersey faithful came out in their droves.
With their typical over-animation, the fans created an atmosphere befitting of a major. Whoever was going to win would have to do so in front of a crowd not afraid to say what they think.
But in the end, the venue itself was not an examination paper that will live long in the memory. The wide fairways and vast greens had been softened by Saturday’s deluge reducing the final day’s play to golf by numbers.
The creativity and control that separates the very best from the also rans at majors simply was not a factor. The only uncertainty was over how much backspin to allow for. What’s more, all too often the fairway bunkers were like islands of sanctuary floating within far more penal thick rough.
At majors, wayward shots should be punished but all too often that wasn’t the case. As fine a layout as this Tillinghast classic is, this was more like a typical PGA Tour challenge than an iconic major test.
Not that Walker will care.