Five Things we Learned from the PGA Championship

23 May 2022 20:59:35 GMTPlus10
Thomas holds nerve to claim PGA Championship

It was a thrilling end to the PGA Championship at Southern Hills as Justin Thomas came through a play-off to clinch the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time.

Now a two-time major champion, this win will have come as somewhat of a relief to the American, whose most recent victory before this came at the 2021 Players Championship.

Back in the winners' circle and up to fifth in the world rankings, the 29-year-old's focus will be on next month's 2022 US Open, which he is 15.00 to win. You can follow the action via bet365's Live Golf Tracker.

As the excitement already starts to build ahead of the major at The Country Club in Brookline, which runs from 16th-19th June, we have delved into five big talking points to have emerged from the PGA Championship.

Thomas knows how to battle

There was no doubting Thomas's quality before this success, you only had to look at his 14 PGA Tour titles before this latest success, but his performance on Sunday proved just how versatile a player he is.

While the majority of the field struggled to cope with the windy conditions, the US ace shot a three-under-par round of 67 - the joint-best score of the day - while he was one of just 19 players to shoot in the red for the final 18 holes.

It's perhaps no surprise to see Thomas thrive in tough conditions, as he also produced a sensational round at this year's Players Championship after finding himself on the wrong side of the draw.

While there was to be no trophy at TPC Sawgrass, the story was different at Southern Hills as he managed to defeat compatriot Will Zalatoris in a three-hole play-off to add a second Wanamaker Trophy to his cabinet.

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Heartbreak for Chilean

It's unclear just what lasting damage there will be for Chilean star Mito Pereira, who held a one-shot lead going into the 72nd hole before making a disastrous double-bogey.

The 27-year-old has been close to breaking his PGA Tour duck this season and he looked set to do that in sensational fashion with a first major triumph, but a terrible drive found the water and the damage was done from there as he proceeded to implode.

No doubt this will sting for some time for Pereira, who was making just his second appearance in a major, and this could end up being the closest he comes to winning one of the 'big four'.

Shoots of recovery for Fleetwood

Expectations would have likely been low for Tommy Fleetwood heading into the PGA Championship, with his last victory coming at the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge, but his showing in Tulsa should give him the confidence-boost needed.

The Englishman ended up in a tie for fifth on -3 - just two shots off the pace - and he will be hoping to keep this momentum going for the US Open, an event he was fourth at in 2017 and then second a year later.

Fleetwood often comes to the fore when playing conditions get tougher and that was evident on Sunday, so he will be hoping for another miserable forecast at the Country Club in June.

Are Tiger's major days over?

While it's fantastic to see Tiger Woods playing competitive golf again, this tournament was a step too far for him and it could be argued his major-contending days are over.

Of course, you write off the American legend at your peril and he proved the doubters wrong when winning the 2019 US Masters - an achievement that is one of the greatest in sporting history.

However, Woods was forced to withdraw after round three in Tulsa, having signed for scores of 74, 69 and 79, and you wonder just how much more his body can take.

Making the decision to call time on your career is always difficult, especially for a player that has been the leading figure in golf for over two decades, but surely the golfing world doesn't want to see Woods just battling to make the cut when it comes to the majors.

The 15-time major winner is 101.00 to claim the spoils at the 2022 US Open but, as things stand, it's unclear whether he will be in the right physical shape to compete.

LIV talk drowned out

A lot of talk over the past couple of months has been about the LIV Golf Invitational Series, a new Saudi-backed tour that is trying to muscle its way in on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

Leading into the PGA Championship, the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Richard Bland had all revealed their intention to play in the opening event of this new series and that they had requested a release from the PGA to participate.

The requests were denied and that is where the situation is right now. Any player can compete in the LIV events, but they are risking disciplinary measures that could see them banned from the PGA and DP Tours.

What was needed at Southern Hills was a dramatic, nerve-racking tournament that produced a sensational ending and a three-hole play-off. You can put a tick in all of those boxes.

The sheer entertainment kept viewers entrenched in the artistry of golf and, come the end of play on Sunday, there was nobody talking about the LIV Series.

Next up....Brookline

As mentioned, the 2022 US Open is next up on the major schedule at The Country Club in Brookline - the venue for USA's famous Ryder Cup victory in 1999.

It promises to be another wonderful spectacle and the likes of Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay, who both missed the cut at Southern Hills, will be hoping to put in stronger challenges at odds of 13.00 and 23.00, respectively.

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