Jimmy Walker becomes fourth first-time major winner of 2016
US golfer holds on to beat Jason Day by one shot at the PGA Championship at a wet Baltusrol
US golfer Jimmy Walker won the PGA Championship by one shot from defending champion Jason Day to become the fourth first-time major winner of the year.
It is only the fifth time since the Second World War that all four tournament have been won by golfers without another big title to their name. Walker follows in the footsteps of Danny Willett (Masters), Dustin Johnson (US Open) and Henrik Stenson (The Open). The last time all four titles went to maiden major winners was in 2011.
Walker was also forced to do it the hard way after storms meant play had to be abandoned on Saturday.
"Walker was the last man standing on this marathon Sunday which saw the pacesetters play 36 holes," says James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph. "It seemed something of a minor miracle that they managed to get finished at all, but Baltusrol evaded the storms just as the 37-year-old from Texas evaded the world number one snapping on his tail."
The golfer may not be a well-known figure off the course, but he is popular figure on the circuit.
"The popularity of major champions is always easy to determine. That is, by the scale of plaudits those who fell short will offer to the winner," says Ewan Murray of The Guardian.
"On Sunday night, social media was awash with high-level praise towards Jimmy Walker for his success at the US PGA Championship. At the venue itself, Jason Day hung around in narrow defeat to make a point of congratulating the 37-year-old. Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who had not even competed at the top of the leaderboard, did likewise."
Walker has never doubted his ability and several papers recount the tale of how he approached legendary coach Butch Harmon for help with his swing in 2012. Harmon obliged but refused payment – so the golfer sent him a $1,200 bottle of Chateau Margaux to be opened when he won a major.
"There are many in the world of golf who will have celebrated Walker’s win here last night; Harmon, though, may have done it with a certain style," says Alasdair Reid in The Times.