PITTSFORD — Steve Stricker turned professional in 1990 – a year in which the Gulf War commenced, Nelson Mandela’s time in prison ended and new television shows “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld” became hits.
Stricker got married in 1993, the year some of this year’s PGA Championship golfers, such as Italy’s Matteo Manassero, were born.
Age didn’t prevent the 46-year-old golfer known as ‘Strick’ from being in contention at the PGA Championship. He was 5-under entering Sunday, four strokes behind leader Jim Furyk, and some were predicting he had a shot at his first-ever major. But Stricker faded to a 3-over 73 Sunday and minus-2 for the tournament.
No one 46 years old or older has won a major since Jack Nicklaus claimed the 1986 Masters.
“I thought 10-under was going to be the number, and just didn’t have any firepower today,” Stricker said. “Didn’t make any putts. Didn’t really have very many opportunities. Consequently, you know, didn’t play very well.”
Stricker has played some of his best golf as he has gotten older.
Stricker, who has won 12 PGA Tour events, was in the world top 10 for 157 consecutive weeks, from 2009 to ’12. He finished second on the money list in 2009 and ranked as high as No. 2 in the world.
He is now No. 13 and has not won a PGA Tour event this year, as he finished tied for 12th at Oak Hill.
Brooks Koepka, 23, grew up a huge Tiger Woods fan. Sunday, he met his hero and had the chance to play with him.
Koepka finished his round 7-over to go 11-over for the tournament, and though it wasn’t a great round for him, he was still happy at the end of the day.
“It was fun,” Koepka, the No. 113 player in the world, said. “I had a good time. Tiger is a good dude … I think everyone my age admired him growing up. He’s the reason I’m playing. It was a bunch of fun to play with him. Nice guy. Hell of a player.”
Woods matched his best round Sunday by shooting an even-par 70, but the pair spent much of their time on the links talking about things other than golf.
“We were just talking about other things, just life and things like that,” Koepka said. “Obviously just hearing everybody, it was unbelievable the people shouting his name. Obviously I have seen it growing up and things like that, but when you are actually out there, it was definitely a little different.”
Woods finished tied for 40th at 4-over, and he said he thinks there should be more majors at Oak Hill Country Club.
“Absolutely,” Woods said. “They had other majors here, Ryder Cups. It’s a fantastic golf course. It’s really tough.”
World No. 2 Phil Mickelson finished with a round of 2-over to put him 12-over for the tournament, in a tie for 72nd – third-to-last.
“I didn’t play very well the last two weeks,” Mickelson said, adding last week’s Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished tied for 21st at 1-over, to his PGA troubles. “I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to go home and take a few weeks off, get my short game sharp and start back up in four or five days for the FedEx Cup. I’m not going to worry too much about it.”
Mickelson was minus-1 through four holes but, for the second consecutive day, he triple-bogeyed a hole – this time the 428-yard, par-4 No. 5.
Keegan Bradley rose 19 spots in the standings with a round off 66 Sunday. The No. 10 player in the world birdied three of his first four holes and was 6-under through 13. One more birdie and he would have been on pace for a 63, equalling the lowest round ever in a major, which champion Jason Dufner tied Friday. Bradley went 2-over par on his last five holes, though.
“I wanted to beat Duf’s course record, for sure,” said Bradley, who finished the tournament tied for 19th at 1-under. “I feel great. I haven’t won this year, so I would love to get one before the year is over. I’ve got a bunch more chances, a bunch of really big tournaments to come. This is going to be a good help going into the playoffs.”
The Barclays, the first FedExCup Playoffs event, begins Aug. 22.
Tim Clark recorded the only hole-in-one at the PGA Championship. Clark cupped his shot on the 220-yard, par-3 No. 11 Sunday. He used a 3-hybrid.
Clark raised both arms in celebration, pumped his right fist and high-fived caddy Steve Underwood.