PGA Championship 2014 Results: Biggest Winners and Losers from Day 3
What a day of golf it was at Valhalla. If you can dream it up, it probably happened on Saturday at the PGA Championship.
There was barefoot golf, frustrated leaders, public apologies and even a mention of a famous dinosaur. Oh, and there were a lot of birdies along the way.
After 54 holes of golf, this is certainly shaping up to be the most exciting major of the year. Rory McIlroy is in the lead, but there is no cushion to speak of—the best golfers in the world, and a few surprise names, are nipping at his heels.
It feels like anything can happen on Sunday, which is exactly what you want from a Saturday. Here are the winners and losers from a spectacular day.
Winner: Jason Day's Par Save on No. 2
Aussie Jason Day hit a par on the second hole of the day, but this is one case where the scorecard doesn't even come close to telling the whole story.
Day drove his ball way left off of the tee, going to the other side of a creek and ending up in the marsh-like grass on the other side. David Feherty of CBS, commentating on the side of the hole, went looking for it, joined by Day's caddy. Day himself even rolled up his pants and took off his shoes and joined them.
Eventually, the ball was discovered. Brendan Porath of SBNation described what happened next:
The ball identified, Day decided he would play it as opposed to taking the penalty stroke and dropping one over on the other side of the hazard. Now he just needed his club, which was in his bag over on the other side.
He asked his caddie to "Hand me a wedge, mate" but nothing was getting "handed" to him. So the caddie launched it across, and Day took his cut out in barefeet and with his pants above his kneecaps.
Day ended up saving par, and it will certainly go down in history as one of the most eventful pars in PGA Championship history. He finished his round with a 69, tied for fourth and three strokes behind the leader.
Loser: Rory McIlroy's Air of Invincibility
Is McIlroy beatable? Well, that is yet to be determined. But on Saturday, we certainly learned that he is in fact human.
McIlroy showed a bit more frustrations on Saturday than we're used to seeing from him over the last month. There were missed putts, an outburst and snap hooks from the 25-year-old, as he grinded his way through the 18 holes. There was the fear from the field—and golf fans—that McIlroy would run away with the Championship on Saturday like he has done in the past. That wasn't the case.
Of course, the good news for the three-time major winner is that he's still in first place at 13-under par.
He doesn't have to be perfect, he doesn't have to be spectacular; he just has to hold on and find a way to win his second major of the year.
Winner: Phil Mickelson
At the end of his third round, Lefty made quite a charge at Valhalla to put himself into contention for his sixth major championship.
He birdied four of his last five holes to finish at 10-under par, three behind the leader. He almost eagled 18.
His back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 brought back memories of many of his subpar rounds this year and threatened to take him out of the picture. But instead of losing his cool like he has so often this year, Mickelson quickly bounced back for a strong finish.
It's been an awful year for the 2005 PGA Champion, but a second Wanamaker Trophy would completely change that.
Loser: Bubba Watson
Oh, Bubba. A day after gaining deserved criticism for his pouty and petulant behavior on the golf course, the Masters champion came out and shot a 73, which was the second-highest score of the day.
It was a very visible 73, considering the two-time major champion was a part of a marquee group live-streamed on the tournament's website on was the only one live-streamed in the morning, before the event was available on television.
While Watson's popularity is indisputable, it still felt like an odd choice considering the high-profile player had dropped f-bombs on live TV on Friday.
After his round, the 35-year-old did apologize for his antics, thanking everyone for keeping him "accountable," as reported by Dave Kindred of Golf Digest:
"I need to be held accountable," he said following a third-round 73 that left him at two-over-par 215. "The Bible says you don't act that way, and I did." So he thanked "all the people on Twitter, all my supporters, and the media. I love it. I'm glad people called me out."
This is far from the first time that Watson's been in hot water for his attitude, so for many the apology fell flat. But no matter what you think, it was a bizarre day for Bubba, one that was high-profile for all the wrong reasons for a guy way out of contention.
Winner: Cinderella Stories
The PGA Championship has always felt a bit like golf's answer to March Madness, as guys come out of the woodwork to contend or even win. That theme is continuing this year.
Before this week, Bernd Wiesberger had only made one cut at a major, at the 2013 U.S. Open. The 28-year-old finished that tournament tied for 64th.
It's safe to say that the Austrian will finish a bit higher than that this year. After shooting a 65 on Saturday, he is one stroke behind McIlroy and all alone in second place at 12 under par heading into the final day. This means he'll be in the exclusive final pairing on Sunday.
Another come-from-nowhere story belongs to Ryan Palmer. The 37-year-old American has three PGA Tour wins (none since 2010), but he only has one top-10 finish at a major, at the 2011 U.S. Open.
Palmer's 69 on Saturday puts him tied for sixth place at nine under par and still very much in the mix.
While the superstars are great to watch, it's nice to have some fresh faces in the mix as well.
Loser: The Course
On Saturday, it felt like whatever the course at the Valhalla Golf Club threw at the players, the best golfers in the world had the answers.
Everywhere you looked, players were making birdies. Par felt like a bad shot on a day where nine players shot a 66 or better. If you didn't shoot at least three-under par, you might as well go home.
Jim Furyk's one-over-par round caused him to plummet down the leaderboard and out of the top 10, a full six strokes behind the McIlroy. He was the only guy in the top 40 to shoot over par on the day—and only one person (Edoardo Molinari) was at even par.
It's a lot of fun to watch golf when birdies are plentiful, so for most fans it's a good thing that the course isn't eating the players alive.
Winner: The Color Purple
Some people dress to impress; Rickie Fowler dresses to make an impression. The 25-year-old did just that on Saturday in his head-to-toe purple ensemble that he joked before his round was just like Barney.
While his clothes might not be everyone's taste, Fowler did nothing but impress on the golf course on Saturday. The most consistent man at the majors this season is in contention once again, finishing just two strokes behind the leader at 11 under par.
He won't be in the final group on Sunday, but he will be in the second-to-last group playing with a guy who has plenty of experience contending at the majors, Phil Mickelson.
"I hit it very well on the back nine and had to be patient, couldn't press," he said on CBS after his round. It's time to see if he can build on his experience this year and finally win his maiden major.
I just can't wait to see what he'll be wearing.
Loser: Brendon Todd
Brendon Todd had an outside chance to make the American Ryder Cup team—either directly or as a captain's pick—coming into the PGA Championship. After a 70 on the first day, he was right in the mix.
But after that, things swung in the wrong direction for Todd. The 29-year-old shot a 73 on Friday and then a 75 on Saturday, the worst round of the day on a birdie-heavy course.
Todd is currently at No. 13 in the Ryder Cup standings, and he's unlikely to have gained any ground this week. He'll need to do something pretty spectacular on Sunday to rejoin the conversation.
Golf fans, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. It looks like after a very lackluster 2014 at the majors, we're finally going to get a dramatic ending.
The leaderboard right now is absolutely, positively packed. Rory McIlroy is in front, of course, but there are 18 players within six shots of him. Of those 18, most are household names.
Rickie Fowler is two strokes back, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day are three strokes back, Henrik Stenson is four back and Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and Lee Westwood are six back.
There were seven 66s and two 65s on Saturday, so there are plenty of birdies to be had. So cancel all of your plans on Sunday afternoon—Valhalla is calling your name.