By: Alan Payton
The 2015 Open Championship ended in grand style on Monday at The Old Course at St. Andrews, with American Zach Johnson beating South African Louis Oosthuizen and Aussie Marc Leishman in a four-hole aggregate playoff. It was the second major championship win of Johnson’s career, following the 2007 Masters. Oosthuizen was looking to repeat at St. Andrews after winning The 2010 Open Championship there. Leishman continues to search for his first major title. His only PGA Tour win was the 2012 Travelers Championship.
Spieth Just Misses Playoff
The big storyline entering The Open was American Jordan Spieth trying to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam after taking the Masters in April and the U.S. Open last month. However, Spieth finished one shot out of the playoff. His birdie putt from the Valley of Sin on the final hole came up about 3 inches left of the cup. Spieth had rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th to create a three-way tie for the lead, but he bogeyed the next hole, the famous Road Hole, to fall one shot back of the leaders heading to 18.
Spieth was attempting to join Ben Hogan, who like Spieth was from Texas, as the only men to win the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open in the same calendar year, and join Hogan and Tiger Woods as the only players since 1900 to win three straight major starts. Had Spieth won, he would have supplanted Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was the world No. 1. Spieth, who will turn 22 this week, will now try to become the third-youngest player to win a third career major at the PGA Championship, which will be held at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, on Aug. 13-16.
At SkyBet, Spieth is the 6.00 favorite to win the PGA. The defending champion of the final major of the year is McIlroy and he is the 8.00 second-favorite, but it’s still not clear if he will be able to play the tournament after missing The Open with a torn ligament in his ankle. McIlroy shot 16-under 268 last year at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. It was the second time McIlroy claimed the Wannamaker Trophy and his fourth career major title.
American Dustin Johnson, who continues to look for his first major title, is 9.00, followed by Aussies Adam Scott (17.0) and Jason Day (21.0) and England’s Justin Rose (21.0). Zach Johnson is 51.0 along with Tiger Woods, who struggled again at The Open Championship, missing the cut as he did at the U.S. Open.
What About Whistling Straits?
As for the PGA Championship course, Whistling Straits is located on two miles of uninterrupted shoreline on Lake Michigan. The course comprises more than 1,000 bunkers. A flock of more than 40 Scottish Blackface sheep wander the property freely as they would on a country course in Great Britain. The last time the course hosted the PGA Championship was in 2010 and Germany’s Martin Kaymer won, beating American Bubba Watson in a three-hole playoff. Dustin Johnson missed that playoff because of a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole.