2. Brooks Koepka, 2019, -3.04
With four of the past eight major titles in his grasp, Koepka entered the 2019 PGA at Bethpage Black as a favorite, and possibly a predominant one.
In the public mindset, perhaps his most likely challenger was the man who had chased him home at Bellerive one year earlier. Woods was coming off a victory at the previous month’s Masters, his first major title in more than a decade.
Koepka’s first 36 holes were a statement. He fired a first round 63 to take a one-stroke lead over Danny Lee, and followed with a 65 to open an imposing seven-stroke advantage over Adam Scott.
When Koepka followed with a Saturday 70 to maintain his seven-stroke advantage, the championship shaped up as a runaway. He still led Dustin Johnson by four at the turn, but a string of four back nine bogeys from 11 through 14 in windy conditions allowed Johnson to close within two and make things temporarily interesting.
When Johnson birdied the 15th, the margin fell to one stroke. But the challenger could draw no closer; Johnson bogeyed the 16th and Koepka managed to find his way home with that two stroke lead. “I’m just glad we didn’t have to play any more holes,” remarked Koepka, who moved to the top of the World Golf Rankings with his victory. He termed the round ‘stressful.’