SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Jordan Spieth excited the crowds at the PGA Championship with good chances for birdie on both the 17th and 18th holes, but he made only par both times to shoot a 68. Those strokes ended his major season Sunday, and symbolized them. He never did get back on track after squandering a five-stroke lead with nine holes to go in the Masters.
He tied for 13th at 6 under par and was a mere 42nd in the “strokes gained, putting” statistic, which is uncharacteristic for a player who has been considered the best putter on tour.
“My goal at the beginning of the year was to have a chance to win at least two of [the majors]. Didn’t quite get there, but I can finish this year strong if I play strong at the Ryder Cup,” he said. “That’s going to feel like a major for me.”
Rory to return at Black
Here is something to watch during The Barclays at Bethpage Black on Aug. 25-28: What’s up with Rory McIlroy? The three-time major champion was one of the big stories here this weekend by being absent. He missed the cut, largely because of his putting, which he called “pathetic.”
The Northern Irishman, who caused a stir when he announced at Troon that he will not play in the Olympics, pointed out before he left Baltusrol that he will take two weeks off, then start figuring out how he missed cuts at the U.S. Open and PGA. He will return at Bethpage.
After finishing solidly (6 under), Irishman Padraig Harrington was asked if he had the solution for McIlroy. “That’s the magic question, isn’t it?’’ he said. “Everybody would like to sort out their putting and putt better. Is it a question of practicing more? Is it a question of practicing less and relaxing about it? Who knows? If I had the solution, I would be bottling it.”
Daniel Summerhays shot 66 to finish third, securing a spot in the 2017 Masters. “I was definitely thinking about that going up the 18th hole,” he said. “That’s a lifetime dream. I’ve got that Augusta theme memorized. I’ve got the words and everything. I can hear Jim Nantz’ voice in the back of my mind: ‘Hello, friends, welcome to Augusta National.’ ”