Tiger Woods was the story on Sunday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. The 14-time major champion came out firing despite entering the final round of the PGA Championship four back of Brooks Koepka, posting a 64 and leaving behind a trail of unmistakable roars from the massive galleries.
Woods was two groups ahead of Koepka and Adam Scott, which meant that every time the crowd erupted for one of Tiger’s vintage moments, the leaders heard them loud and clear. Despite that effort from Tiger and a charge from Scott in his own group, Koepka never blinked.
The 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open Champion added the 2018 PGA Championship to his trophy case with a 66 on Sunday to post 16-under, beating Woods by two and Scott by three. Koepka birdied the first, but a pair of bogeys in the middle of the round dropped him back into a tie for first with Justin Thomas. However, he regained his mojo with three consecutive birdies to close the front nine to take the solo lead to the back.
As Thomas faded, Scott and Woods charged at him, but Koepka remained steady. He parred the first five holes on the back before arriving at the 15th needing a birdie to pull back ahead of Scott. He got that and then fired an absolute dart with a 4-iron at the long 16th, giving himself a two-shot cushion.
Arriving at the 17th tee, Koepka needed to avoid disaster off the tee, which lurked in the form of OB left and a water hazard right. He responded with a 338-yard drive down the left side of the fairway, leaving no doubt to the winner of the tournament.
Tiger had his chances, but a 64 in the final round is hard to find too many issues with. He hit some phenomenal putts all day, only needing 23 putts to get around Bellerive, but it was almost a 21-putt outing. Woods had a pair of putts that looked money all the way end up either just short or lipping out in cruel fashion.
His drive on 17 is probably the shot that will haunt him the most as he found the hazard right after arriving on the tee one behind the leaders. However, he was able to play it, chopping out to the fairway before finding a greenside bunker. From there he got up and down to keep slim hopes alive.
On the 18th, Woods gave the crowd one final thrill with a massive drive and a solid approach to the front of the green. From there, in front of the biggest crowd of the year on Tour, Woods poured in the putt to get to 14-under, which would be good for second alone.
Afterwards, Woods stayed on hand to give Koepka his due at the clubhouse, congratulating the man that became the first to win the U.S. Open and PGA in the same season since he did so in 2000.
The leading story of the tournament will be Woods, once again proving he’s back and a danger, but Koepka has suddenly vaulted himself into fairly rare air with his third major win. The Florida State product has earned those three titles in a 14-month stretch and suddenly has to be considered a threat every time he steps onto a major championship course.