Here are 10 takeaways from this week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club:
1.Quail Hollow was the big winner this week. The renovations made last year, along with the Champions Bermuda greens and Bermuda rough, turned Quail Hollow’s debut at the PGA Championship into the sternest test of all the majors in 2017.
2. Once again, Kerry Haigh was widely praised. Haigh, Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, was in charge of the daily course setup. He is regarded as the best in the business and this week was no exception.
3. The Green Mile at Quail Hollow took its toll on everyone, even the leaders. The par-4 16th, par-3 17th and par-4 18th were among the five most difficult holes on the course all week. The 18th was first, the 17th was second and the 16th was fifth.
4. Jordan Spieth failed in his quest for the career Grand Slam, finishing the PGA Championship at a dismal 2-over-par 286. He struggled with the speed of the greens at Quail Hollow and his putting was well below his standards. And, at the end, he was fighting his swing.
5. There has now been a first-time major champion in eight of the past nine majors. Spieth was the only repeat winner in that span by winning the Open Championship in July.
6. Rory McIlroy is near the end of a lost season. He has yet to win anywhere in the world in 2017 and failed to contend in any of the major championships. This is the third straight year McIlroy hasn’t won a major. He doesn’t know if he will play the FedEx Cup playoffs or just shut it down for the year.
7. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson didn’t contend in any of the majors, either. After being the best player in the world with three straight wins early in the year, a slip-and-fall in Augusta took him out of the Masters. His performance at the PGA was nothing more than mediocre.
8. Grayson Murray made his second appearance on the big stage a memorable one. The Raleigh native and rookie on the PGA Tour was sixth going into the final round. He shot a final-round 75 to finish at 1-over 285. His only other major championship was the U.S. Open at Merion (Pa.) in 2013.
9. Rickie Fowler won’t win a major championship until he finds a way to keep the big numbers off his scorecard. A triple bogey on Thursday and a double bogey in the third round were just too many shots to make up.
10. You can’t help but wonder how the difficulty of Quail Hollow this week will affect the field at next year’s Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris says the course won’t be as hard for the Wells Fargo. PGA Tour players will face an interesting decision.