What a weekend at the PGA Championship
Sports are defined by stories. Sometimes, those stories are ongoing narratives that play out over time. Other times, they're self-contained moments of brilliance — the kind of unscripted magic that only sports can produce.
Driving the news: We got both types of stories at this weekend's PGA Championship, where Brooks Koepka won a major championship and Michael Block won our hearts.
- Koepka (-9) outlasted Scottie Scheffler (-7) and Viktor Hovland (-7) to win his fifth major, etching his name in the history books and giving the LIV Golf tour its first major champion.
- Block (+1), the head pro at a public course in California, brought golf fans along for the ride of a lifetime, finishing 15th in a field that included 99 of the world's top 100 players.
Let's start with Koepka: The 33-year-old's return to glory after years in the darkness is best contextualized through numbers, which help illustrate his dominance at majors — and his place among the all-time greats.
- Koepka is the 20th player to win five majors in a career and just the third to do so in the last 30 years, joining Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
- He's the seventh golfer since 1950 to win five majors before turning 34, joining Woods, Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson. That's quite the list.
- In the last 80 years, there have been just four instances of a golfer finishing runner-up in the first major of the year and then winning the second: Player in 1965, Woods in 2008, Koepka in 2019 and Koepka in 2023 (he and Mickelson tied for second at last month's Masters).
The backdrop: Koepka's triumph — and LIV's overall performance at the Masters (three in the top five) and this weekend (three in the top 10) — disproves the notion that competing on the PGA Tour is the only way to round into major form.
- If Koepka and friends keep thriving on golf's biggest stages, it's not hard to imagine the perception of LIV — how fans talk about it, how the media covers it, how PGA Tour players think about it — changing.
- Yes, but: LIV has yet to prove that it can parlay the spotlight on its players during majors into more interest in the league. It's still a sideshow most weeks, and viewership has been so low that the league has quietly stopped publicly reporting TV ratings.
And then there's Block: The 46-year-old everyman golf pro charges $150 for 60-minute lessons at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. On Sunday, he won $288,333 after shooting 70-70-70-71 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.
- Block's dream weekend was full of surreal moments — from his hole-in-one to his up-and-down on 18 to save par and qualify for next year's PGA Championship. And he appeared to be in disbelief the whole time, which was incredibly relatable.
- "Are you serious?" he asked after learning he'd be paired with Rory McIlroy for Sunday's final round. "It didn't go in, did it? … Rory, did it go in?" he asked after acing No. 15 — his first-ever hole-in-one.
What he's saying: "It's amazing. I'm living a dream," said Block in an emotional interview after his Sunday round. "I'm making sure I enjoy this moment. … It's not gonna get better than this, there's no way."
- "Rory was awesome, man," he added while fighting back tears, as if he still couldn't believe he'd just played 18 holes alongside the No. 3-ranked golfer in the world.
- "I can't thank everybody enough for being so cool to me. And cheers to the 29,000 PGA professionals — this is for you guys."
What's next: Shortly after the trophy presentation he shared with Koepka, Block received a phone call informing him that he's been invited to compete at the Colonial next week.