PGA Tour Inc.

08/06/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/06/2020 19:01

Blast from the past hits PGA Championship as Tiger lurks

SAN FRANCISCO - YouTube might get a serious workout in the San Francisco area tonight.

It seems a little self-motivation via video reflection goes a long way when you're a big name golf star who is looking to recapture the glory past. Just ask Brooks Koepka as he vies for a third straight PGA Championship. Or Martin Kaymer as he looks to add to his two majors and PLAYERS titles. Or Jason Day, Zach Johnson and Justin Rose for that matter.

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Koepka shot a 4-under 66 on Thursday to be just one behind Day's bogey free leading 65 as he looks to be the first player since Australian Peter Thomson to win a particular major three times in a row.

Thomson won the Open Championship in 1954, 1955 and 1956 as the last player to pull off the feat. The only player to win the Wanamaker Trophy three years in a row is Walter Hagen, who won four consecutive PGA Championship titles from 1924 to 1927 when it was a match play event.

While Koepka's recent major form - which includes two of the last three U.S. Open titles - has been stellar, his 2020 season had been poor until last week. The former two-time PGA TOUR Player of the Year had recorded just one top-10 from 10 starts until finishing runner up at last week's World Golf Championships - FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The key to the change? Old highlights that confirmed he needed to keep his weight shift on his left side, not the right as had crept into his game. Koepka claims his injured left knee is not to blame.

'If you looked at it from behind probably where the camera sits most of the time where we're hitting it probably looks like I'm lined up a little too far left. I'm not, my knee is in the same position, my left foot is just dropped back a hair, and then from there it allows me to actually go forward on the left side and really drive off that right foot and not feel anything in my left side,' he explained.

'We watched a lot of video from the PGA the last two years, me and Ricky when we were home on Sunday night and Monday. We watched a lot of the rounds, and it was pretty much the same thing. My feet are kind of usually a little bit staggered probably from a perfect golf swing too far left, but that's just how we play. It's nice to feel comfortable over the ball. I'm starting to see it come out of the right pocket, the right window, and that's exciting.'

Kaymer, who won the PGA a decade ago at Whistling Straights and also picked up the 2014 PLAYERS Championship and U.S. Open missed the cut in his return to golf at the Barracuda Championship last week. Last night he was feeling sorry for himself and decided there was just one tonic needed.

'I was watching the U.S. Open actually from 2014, the back nine, trying to get some kind of positivity in my game because it hasn't been much recently because of no play,' Kaymer admitted after a 66 of his own at Harding Park.

'I was not that happy for some reason. And then I thought I needed to lift my spirit a little bit. I went on YouTube and I found that video of us playing the back nine. I watched the PGA Championship, also, because of the dramatic finish. I like to go back to those moments. I know you shouldn't live in the past, but if the past can help you in the present moment, I'll take it.'

Then there was Day. It was five years ago he broke through for his PGA Championship, also at Whistling Straights. It was part of a whirlwind 2015-16 where the Australian would win seven tournaments in 17 starts that included winning the PGA, two FedExCup Playoff events, the PLAYERS and a World Golf Championships.

But the last of his 12 PGA TOUR wins came at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship and he recently fell out of the world top 50 for the first time since entering it in 2010. After missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Challenge a month ago Day slipped to 101st in the FedExCup.

What to do? He looked at himself in the mirror and reminded himself of the confidence and swagger he carried back in 2015-16. He saw a few clips online of the confidence he carried in his walk alone.

'I finally had enough of feeling sorry for myself, and it's easy to do that in this game because it is so mentally tough. You can start blaming everything else but yourself. Sometimes you've just got to pull your pants up and just move on,' Day said.

The result has been three straight top 10s leading into this week. And now he sits atop the leaderboard of those from the morning wave. During the height of his streak he went wire-to-wire three out of three times when he held the solo lead after round one.

'I feel like the momentum that I've had over the last three starts has kind of seeped into this week. I'm excited about -- the funny thing is that every day I'm excited to go back to the golf course and play, whereas before I was struggling to get up and going,' Day added.

Johnson and Rose also shot 66 in the morning wave making it four major winners as part of the nine-way tie for second that also included Xander Schauffele. No word if Johnson was watching Open Championship highlights from 2015 last night or highlights from his Masters win. Rose might want to dial up 2013 Merion in his web browser tonight.

And then there was Tiger Woods. The 82-time PGA TOUR winner was far from his best but still managed to shoot 68, his lowest start to a major since 2012. It was a solid start and keeps him in the mix for a 16th major and record 83rd TOUR win.

Woods did have a few hiccups and moments that left him a little sour but hey, if he's looking for a pick me up tonight, no one has a better YouTube library of highlights.