Tiger Woods 'excites' Jim Furyk ahead of Ryder Cup

Sherman Parsons
August 13, 2018

Three-time major champion Brooks Koepka and world number one Dustin Johnson will play for the United States against Europe in September's Ryder Cup in France.

In the search for two shots that could've made the difference, one could point to the bad drive on 17, the agonizing miss on 11 or a 12-foot putt to save par that went halfway in but rimmed out on No. 14 and briefly halted his momentum.

Koepka held off Tiger Woods and Adam Scott with his four-under-par 66 in St Louis, where the American became just the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA in the same season. I mean, Tiger's come back.

Koepka withstood stifling pressure and sweltering heat to card a four-under 66 good enough for a two-shot victory over Woods, who was chasing his first major title in a decade and came close by returning a 64, his lowest final round in a major.

"To go from not sure if I'm going to play again ... it's mind-boggling", Koepka said. I just flat out didn't execute the shots.

"I was feeling really good out there, especially as he back nine got going", Scott said.

Koepka was responsible for that.

"Tiger's coming", yelled one of the few spectators who bothered hanging around to watch Koepka and Scott after Woods had been through.

Tiger Woods may have managed a par for the first time this week, but the 10th hole played as the hardest with 26 bogeys, three double bogeys and a triple bogey from halfway leader Gary Woodland adding up to a scoring average of 4.300.

Tiger Woods once again challenged for his first major championship in ten years when he finished second at the PGA Championship.

"I'm just very pleased at what I've done so far and now to be part of the Ryder Cup conversation, going from where I've come from to now in the a year ago, it has been pretty cool", Woods said.

He joins Jordan Spieth, Woods, Nicklaus and Tom Watson as the only players since World War II with three majors before turning 30.

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Scott was tied for the lead until Koepka's birdies.

Then Queenslander Scott caught fire with five birdies in seven holes on his own way to an impressive 67 despite a bogey on the last that dropped him to third, one behind Woods. "It's amusing how things work", said Berger, who's also been dealing with a wrist injury this week.

What if Woods had knocked down a couple birdies during his long dry streak?

However, he regained his mojo with three consecutive birdies to close the front nine to take the solo lead to the back.

Finishing two shots behind overall victor Brooks Koepka is not the fairy tale that most spectators in St Louis would have hoped for, but it is a huge step in the right direction for the 14-time major victor and former world number one. Each day got a little bit better here. He did well to advance it, but had to save par from a bunker. Both he and Koepka were looking at makeable birdie putts.

Woods admitted he never imagined contending in back to back majors after having spinal fusion surgery previous year. So just had a lot of things go wrong. "And when a guy's doing that and hitting it straight, and as good a putter as he is, it's tough to beat".

Koepka never imagined a year like this.

Regardless, the third-place finish marks a significant improvement on recent years as the world number 76 battles back to the form that saw him take out the 2013 Masters at Augusta. Koepka wasn't fazed, just like he wasn't fazed by the firm and windy conditions that annoyed so many in the field at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

On the American side, Koepka locked up the top spot, followed by Dustin Johnson in the second position. "I teed off in the last two major championships in contention".

He now is No. 2 in the world, with a shot at overtaking Johnson in two weeks when the FedEx Cup playoffs start.

Behind the three frontrunners, Spain's Jon Rahm and Stewart Cink finished tied for fourth on 11 under, while defending champion Justin Thomas faded to finish a shot further back with British Open victor Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters and halfway leader Gary Woodland. He drained his longest putt of the tournament, a 19-footer putt for birdie, and pumped his fist to celebrate. He shot 68 and tied for sixth. Dialed in on the back nine, he hit his approach to a foot on the 15th hole to get within one shot.

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