PGA Championship comes out tops among majors in terms of drama

Being last in the calendar by no means makes tournament least among majors

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates after winning the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 10, 2014, in Louisville, Kentucky. John Locher / AP Photo
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Every year, it becomes a topic of discussion as the season’s fourth major championship rolls around.

The PGA Championship has long lacked a distinguishing characteristic.

The Masters has Augusta National, considered by many the most famous course in the world. The US Open embraces an image as the toughest test in golf, and the British Open dates to the 1800s and is played on venerable links tracks.

But during the past 15 years, there is a defining element at the year’s final grand slam event that cannot be disputed: the PGA has been the most consistently entertaining major of all.

The first three majors of 2014 were snoozers, nearly devoid of Sunday drama. Yet Rory McIlroy's victory last weekend merely served as the latest in a long list of nervy PGA thrillers.

There was Tiger Woods's duel with Sergio Garcia in 1999, and Woods's unforgettable play-off victory over Bob May the following year.

David Toms laid up on the last hole and beat Phil Mickelson by a shot in 2001, and unheralded Rich Beem held off a blistering Woods rally in 2002.

Shaun Micheel hit the greatest clinching shot in recent majors history to win in 2003. Padraig Harrington edged Garcia in 2008 and YE Yang ended Woods’s aura of invincibility in 2009.

Sure, the PGA is last in the calendar line-up, but it leads the majors in goose bumps, which is not a bad identity to have.

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