Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship at Baltusrol this past weekend. That is an impressive feat in and of itself, but it’s even more impressive given that Walker, 37, had missed the cut at his two previous majors. So often in golf, we see players win majors after coming up just shy earlier in the season.
Well, Walker did just the opposite.
How does a golfer go from missing cuts to winning a major? For Walker, it was simple: He righted the ship during the previous weekend at the RBC Canadian Open, where he shot a 7-under-281.
“I felt like I had kind of keyed in on something in Canada the last nine holes,” Walker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I had just a solid nine holes of golf where I just felt like I was in control. That’s kind of how golf was I remember it feeling and wanted it to feel. So we came in and I played a couple of matches on Tuesday and Wednesday and continued those feelings, and they felt good. I played solid in our little matches, and I took that into the tournament. I’m glad I got battle-tested before I went out and played. . . . I felt good and I was going with it.”
Walker led from start to finish at Baltusrol, becoming the first wire-to-wire PGA Championship since Phil Mickelson in 2005. Baltusrol played host that year as well.
When Walker holed a bunker shot on No. 10 on Sunday, he knew he had a great chance to win.
“I think that was a nice indicator of what could happen and the way it was looking,” said Walker, who finished with a 14-under-266. “There’s still a lot of golf left and some good players out there. I knew Jason (Day) had birdied nine and he got close, and I was like, ‘Oh, man, is he going to start to make a run? I better get my stuff together.’ I caught a beautiful lie in the bunker and just made it work. That was pretty awesome. And then to follow that up with another birdie on the next hole, a nice long putt after a mediocre wedge shot, was even bigger, I think.”
Day finished with a 13-under-267 and lost by one stroke – heartbreaking given that he eagled the last hole of the tournament. Walker, however, hit a 4-foot putt to win his first major.
The feeling, he said, was incredible.
“Oh, it’s huge,” Walker said. “Jason texted me today, and he said, ‘I had so much fun trying to chase you down. Congratulations.’ I said, ‘Thanks, I had a lot of fun yesterday, too.’ I said, ‘You making that eagle on that last hole was just absolutely incredible, and because you did that, I learned something about myself in golf that I probably wouldn’t have learned if you hadn’t have done that.’ I hope he took that as a compliment and a thank you. I was very sincere about it.”