2000-2009 PGA Championships
Woods, already a winner of the U.S. Open and British Open during the summer, made the PGA Championship’s return to Valhalla Golf Club in 2000 perhaps the most thrilling climax in major championship history. In the process, Woods became the first back-to-back PGA Champion since Denny Shute in 1936-37.
Woods and journeyman Tour professional Bob May, whose glossy record Woods had emulated as a youth in the Southern California junior ranks, engaged in a stirring final-round duel. The players were deadlocked after making memorable 18th hole birdie putts, and entered the first three-hole aggregate score playoff in PGA Championship history. Woods began with a birdie on the par-4 16th hole, then saved par on the final two holes with brilliant recovery shots to edge May by a stroke.
In 2001 at The Atlanta Athletic Club, unheralded David Toms conquered the strongest field in golf history by finishing with a 15-under-par 265 to set a major championship record for 72 holes. Toms elected to lay up for par on the 72nd hole, sinking a 12-foot winning putt to preserve a one-stroke triumph over Phil Mickelson.
Rich Beem’s stunning back-nine charge to a 4-under-par 68 elevated him past Tiger Woods to the title in the 85th PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Beem took command with an eagle on the par-5 11th hole. Although Woods staged a brilliant rally with birdies on the final four holes, Beem left no doubt when he ran home a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole. Beem three-putted the 72nd hole that produced the final one-stroke victory margin.
The 85th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club will be remembered for Shaun Micheel’s putting the final touches on “Glory’s Last Shot.” Clinging to a one-stroke lead, Micheel hit a 7-iron approach on the 18th hole to within two inches of the cup.
Vijay Singh captured his second PGA Championship in 2004, but not before outlasting Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco in a three-hole cumulative score playoff at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. After DiMarco and Leonard each failed in their bids to win on the 18th green, Singh birdied the first playoff hole from five feet to grab the lead for good, then finished with two pars to once again hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.
In 2005, Phil Mickelson separated himself from a long list of solo major winners by hitting a flop shot from the deep rough on the 18th hole to within two feet and tapped in for a winning birdie. Mickelson returned a day after heavy rain postponed play at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., and defeated Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and 1995 Champion Steve Elkington by one stroke.
Tiger Woods marked his return to Medinah Country Club in 2006, capturing his third PGA Championship and his 12th career major championship. One year later, Woods marked his 13th major championship at Southern Hills Country Club, winning a fourth PGA Championship during the hottest recorded week of weather in PGA Championship history.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington overcame Sergio Garcia in 2008 at rugged Oakland Hills with a strong back-nine rally, including a birdie on the 17th hole and a memorable par-saving putt on 18 to become the first European-born Champion since Scotland's Tommy Armour in 1930. In 2009, Y.E. Yang became the first Asian-born player to win a major Sunday with a stunning performance and overcame Tiger Woods by three-strokes.
In 2010, Germany’s Martin Kaymer emerged victorious from a three-hole playoff with Bubba Watson, posting a winning even-par total in the overtime drama to become his country’s first PGA Champion and second ever to win one of golf’s four majors. The dramatics, however, were more compelling prior to the playoff when Dustin Johnson – clinging to a one-stroke lead standing on the 18th tee – saw his chances for glory erased due to a rule violation in that tiny sand bunker on the right-hand side of the fairway.
Johnson had placed his 4-iron behind the ball, unaware that it was part of a bunker. He went on to make a brilliant pitch shot to seven feet of the hole, just missing a par putt that was to have been a Championship-winning stroke. Kaymer’s first major triumph came amidst a field featuring 97 of the top 100 world-ranked player and a PGA Championship-record 73 players representing 22 countries. He accomplished his feat at Whistling Straits after tying for eighth in the U.S. Open and sharing seventh at the Open Championship.