Amanda Balionis looks back at all the good, the bad and the unusual sights and sounds from RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship, The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Henrik Stenson walked past the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday and said, "I'll see you next year."
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jason Dufner stood on the fifth tee in the final round and had to remember his tee shot from Saturday. Just 24 hours earlier, he hit his drive into the hazard. You would think caution would have been appropriate but Dufner never hesitated. He pulled out his driver and spanked the ball down the fairway. Following a wedge into the green, Dufner had birdie.
Keep in mind this was the fifth hole. A 437-yard par 4 that played as the single hardest hole on the course with a Sunday stroke average of 4.387. There were just 10 birdies on that hole and a dozen golfers made double or worse during the final round.
That hole symbolized the week for Dufner. He did not hesitate to pull driver. While others hit 3-woods off the tee, Dufner waggled his driver and pulled the trigger hitting 34 of 56 fairways.
Some golfers cowered at Oak Hill while Dufner attacked.
Bold prediction?: Henrik Stenson did not have his best stuff on Sunday but he was still making a charge. He had just birdied the 12th hole and was 9 under facing a 20-yard eagle pitch at the 14th. There was just one problem; his drive appeared to settle in a sand filled divot. It was a terrible break. Stenson could not get enough club on the ball, and hit his second shot into the bunker and from there made bogey. His charge was done, all the momentum gone from the round. Stenson shot even par to finish third.
As he exited the 18th green, Stenson walked past the Wanamaker Trophy and wagged his finger saying, “I’ll see you next year.”
Putting: Jonas Blixt was admittedly, “a little nervous,” at the start of the final round. He missed makeable par putts on the first two holes to immediately go a pair over par. Blixt misses fairways but one-putts. That’s the way he plays and has won a pair of PGA TOUR titles with that game. The putter awakened on the 10th hole. He would one-putt the next five greens. Blixt went birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie in that stretch, eventually shooting 70 and finishing fourth in his first PGA Championship. Blixt hit just 25 of 56 fairways on the week but had only 109 putts.
Fickle: It was just a week ago we were congratulating Tiger Woods on shooting 61 and winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. It was just three weeks ago we were congratulating Phil Mickelson on his Open Championship. Great things were predicted for both this week but never materialized. Woods rallied to shoot even par in the final round and finish 40th. Mickelson never got any momentum and finished T72. If you know why a golf game can fluctuate so dramatically from week to week, make sure to drop both players a note. They, and every other PGA TOUR player, would welcome an explanation. Tiger made nine birdies the entire week. Mickelson never did get a feel for the greens, taking a whopping 65 putts on the weekend.
Oak Hill: Golfers are leaving Rochester, N.Y., with nothing but admiration for the city and the golf course. Despite rain in half the tournament rounds, the course held up beautifully. Players praised for the PGA of America for the course setup and the city of Rochester for its support. Rochester has always been known as a golf conscious community and this week only enhanced that reputation.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
Scott finished in the top 5 in three of the year's four majors. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Collectively, no one was better than Adam Scott in the majors this year.
The Masters champion was a combined 2 over in the four tournaments, tying him with fellow Aussie Jason Day.
In the last two years, however, Scott was even better on the big stage after finishing last year's four majors in a combined 6 under.
Sunday at Oak Hill, he came up short in his bid for a second major championship. The Aussie would have joined a short list of players who have won the Masters and the PGA Championship in the same year that includes only Jack Nicklaus (twice), Jack Burke Jr. and Sam Snead.
Instead, Scott stumbled early, missing a par putt from a few feet on the opening hole.
He bounced back with three birdies and just one bogey over his next eight holes, but Scott could never find any consistency in his round, bogeyed two of his final three holes and shot even-par 70 to finish five back.
Still, he left Oak Hill feeling good about his game and his future.
"I'm peaking at the right times," said Scott, who has seven top 10s, including a win and two runner-up finishes, in his last dozen majors. "It's hard to stay there for four days and have the lead the whole time, but I feel like I'm improving still. I'm doing something right."
It started two years ago for Scott when he cut back on his schedule, changed to the long putter and added veteran caddie Steve Williams to the bag.
Said Scott, "I really feel like I've got the right program in place."
McIlroy finished in a tie for eighth at 3 under at Oak Hill. (Carr/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Rory McIlroy made a speedy exit following his final round at Oak Hill, quickly putting on his tennis shoes after answering a few questions and heading to the airport.
In reality, he departed much earlier in the day when his 9-iron approach to the fifth green spun back into the water. He went on to make triple bogey and ended any hopes for a second straight PGA Championship.
While McIlroy didn't leave with the Wanamaker trophy, he did gain something else -- confidence.
"It's close," McIlroy said of his game. "I played really good today. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the (FedExCup) Playoffs."
To his point, McIlroy rallied with three birdies over his final 13 holes, making just one bogey the rest of the day en route to an even-par 70 and a tie for eighth at 3 under.
It wasn't all that dissimilar to what he did on Friday when, staring at missing the cut in a second straight major, he made four birdies over his final seven holes to get to the weekend.
He kept the momentum going a day later with a 67 that got him into contention, six shots off the lead going into the final round.
"I'm just disappointed because I felt like if I would have capitalized on the way I played, (the outcome) would have been much better," McIlroy said of his final round. "But it's definitely a step in the right direction."
And an important one for McIlroy, who still has the FedExCup Playoffs and events overseas left on his calendar.
"I've got four big weeks coming up and want to finish the PGA TOUR season well, and I have some events in Asia, so I could still salvage a bit of the season," he said. "I saw a lot of great signs out there today."
Jason Dufner is the 19th different winner in the past 21 major championships. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Two years after he frittered away a three-stroke lead over the final four holes and ended up losing a playoff at the PGA Championship, Jason Dufner put his name on the Wanamaker Trophy with a solid 68 in the final round.
"It hasn't hit me yet," Dufner said. "I still can't believe this is happening to me. To come back from a couple of years ago in this championship when I lost to Keegan (Bradley) in a playoff and win feels really, really good."
Dufner, who matched the major championship record of 63 on Friday, finished four rounds at Oak Hill at 10 under, two strokes ahead of Jim Furyk, with whom he played the final 18 holes. Furyk, who was bidding to win his second major, closed with a round of 71.
Henrik Stenson, who finished second at The Open Championship and third at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, was alone in third at 7 under after shooting 70. Jonas Blitz, a fellow Swede playing in just his second major, also shot even par and finished solo fourth.
Dufner had held a share of the lead after the second and third rounds two years ago at the Atlanta Athletic Club before an opportunistic Keegan Bradley forced -- and won the three-hole aggregate playoff. On Sunday, he trailed by Furyk by one stroke entering the final 18 holes but took the lead with consecutive birdies at Nos. 4 and 5 and never relinquished it.
"I decided I was going to be confident and put my best foot forward and play aggressive and try to win this thing," Dufner said. "I wasn't going to play scared or soft. It's a big step for my career."
Dufner, who celebrated with an understated double fist pump before hugging first his wife Amanda and later Bradley, is the 19th different major champion in the last 21 majors. The breakthrough victory was the third of his career.
Jason Dufner captured the PGA Championship on Sunday to win his first major.
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Jason Dufner is looking for his third PGA TOUR victory. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jason Dufner and Jim Furyk have been putting on quite a show during the final round of the 95th PGA Championship.
Furyk maintained his overnight lead with pars on the first three holes before Dufner got heated up. He birdied the fourth hole to tie Furyk and took the lead at 10 under with another birdie on the next.
Furyk responded with a lengthy birdie putt on the sixth hole to get into double figures with Dufner, who pulled away again on the eighth hole. Dufner's lead became two when Furyk couldn't get up and down from beside the ninth green, missing a 15-footer to save, and Dufner, who came up short with his approach, was rock-steady from 10 feet.
Keegan Bradley, who shot 66 earlier in the day, isn't surprised to see Dufner and Furyk at the top of the leaderboard in a major championship that requires such patience. He sees the two as very similar players.
"They put the ball in the fairway, good ball-strikers," Bradley said. "They are not going to do anything that is going to surprise you. Sure enough they will shoot 4 or 5 under and you won't even know it.
"That's going to be a good matchup with them today. I think Jim is going to be tough as well. He's mentally as strong as anybody out here. It seems like he's rolling the putter really well."
Bradley, who has played with both Dufner and Bradley on a Ryder Cup team, says both are "super competitive.
"I feel like a lot of people think they are quiet guys, but they are very vocal, especially 'Duf,'" he said. "I think that they are both super intense.
"People that on Sundays, that wouldn't be your first choice to go up against."
Henrik Stenson, bidding to become the first Swede -- male, that is -- to win a major championship, made the turn three strokes behind Dufner at 8 under. Masters champ Adam Scott and another Swede, Jonas Blixt, who is playing in just his second major, are tied at 6 under through 11 and 10 holes, respectively.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy got to 4 under with a birdie at the fourth hole but fell well back when he triple bogeyed the fifth hole. He's on the back nine now at 3 under through 12 holes.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- At one point Sunday, it looked like the course record might be tied or even broken at Oak Hill.
Jason Day and Scott Piercy, each starting the day nine shots off the lead, charged up the leaderboard with one birdie after another.
Day, who has four career finishes in the top 3 in majors, birdied four of his last six holes on the front nine then three of his first four on the back.
Piercy did nearly the same, also going out in 31 before adding two birdies in his first four holes on the back nine.
"It's funny, I tweeted last night I'm thinking 62," Piercy said. "With the birdie putt on 14 to get to 7, I was right on pace. Hit a bad putt there, then came back on 16 and made a birdie."
In the end it wasn't enough.
Day shot 67, bogeying each of his last three holes, while Piercy carded a 65 after a bogey on his final hole.
Still, both rounds were good enough to get them in the top 10 -- for now -- as Day finished his week 3 under and Piercy 5 under.
Keegan Bradley hopes to make a strong run through the FedExCup Playoffs.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Keegan Bradley knew he had a chance. He would have loved to have stolen the course record from his buddy Jason Dufner, too.
But no sooner did Bradley make his third straight birdie to get to 6 under through 13 holes on Sunday, he bogeyed the next hole. Another bogey at the 18th hole brought Bradley home with a 66 so Dufner still had bragging rights.
Dufner had set a new Oak Hill record with a 63 on Friday -- marking the 26th time that score had been shot in a major championship. He had a chance at uncharted territory with a 62 but left a 12-footer for birdie short at the 18th hole.
"I wanted to beat's Duf's course record for sure," Bradley said. "On 14, I didn't hit that bad of a drive and it hit the tree and kicked it 60 yards right. Could have just as easily kicked it left and been right in front of the green. But that's how it goes.
"I'm proud of the way I played today. I've played the British Open and PGA good on the weekends ... so I'm happy."
Bradley may not have gotten the record he wanted but he proved there are birdies to be had at Oak Hill on Sunday. You've better make them early, though.
"The first 13 holes or 14 holes are gettable, but the last four are playing really tough," he said. "17 and 18 are going to be brutal come the end of the day."
Bradley, who beat Dufner in a playoff to win the 2011 PGA and tied for third last year, feels his game is peaking at the right time. In his last two starts, he tied for 15th at The Open Championship and shared second at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last week.
"I feel great," Bradley said. "I haven't won this year, so I would love to get one before the year is over. I've got a bunch more chances a bunch of really big tournaments to come. This is going to be a good help going into the Playoffs."
Bradley is finishing up his third year on the PGA TOUR. He's already won three times -- including that surprising PGA in a Rookie of the Year campaign -- and played on last year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. He relishes the big events and has already proved to be a threat.
"I feel like I've validated that win," Bradley said. "Not that I feel like I needed to, but I feel like my career has steadily been rising. And you know, I hope to continue to contend in majors for forever hopefully."
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jason Day and Scott Piercy started the day six shots off the lead.
Now both suddenly find themselves challenging more than just the course record.
Day and Piercy are both 6 under through their first 13 holes and within three of the lead.
On Friday, Jason Dufner, set a course record and became the 24th player to record a 63 in a major.
As for Day, he has birdied six of his last night holes after a bogey early in the round. Piercy, meanwhile, has five birdies in his last seven holes.
Only Jason Dufner and Henrik Stenson -- both at 8 under -- are ahead of them, along with leader Jim Furyk, who is another shot clear.
Day and Piercy are hardly the only ones to have gone low this week. Furyk and Adam Scott both opened with a 65, while Webb Simpson shot 64. But that was early in the week when the course was playing soft.
They are running out of holes, however, as they try to get in early, post a number and see what everyone else behind them does.