US PGA: Tiger prowling for first major in decade after Koepka falters

Phil Mickelson missed the cut at the PGA Championship for the second straight season

Phil Mickelson missed the cut at the PGA Championship for the second straight season

Tiger Woods plays his shot from the 16th tee during the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 18, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. This is his best finish at consecutive majors since 2010.

And in his exhilarating but ultimately futile attempt to catch Koepka at the PGA Championship, Woods got a taste of what it's going to take to get back on top in the majors.

Already an assistant Ryder Cup captain, as he was two years ago, Woods claimed shortly after his round Sunday that, this time, he yearns to do more than cheer on his countrymen.

"I've won three of the last six I've played in, so I guess (my game) suits the majors", a tongue-in-cheek Koepka said.

"I was feeling really good out there, especially as he back nine got going", Scott said.

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"Now, that doesn't mean to say that a guy could have had a relatively average summer, and he goes on a tear, plays well here at the PGA, goes to NY, goes to Boston and plays well". If I was critical of myself, I just didn't drive it up to what I would expect in this kind of situation to win.

He may be thankful to still be playing, but the reality is that this performance hints that Woods is nowhere near finished at the top level, and that all the hard work to get to this point has been worth it. Even the announcers thought it would eventually drop. "And I'm just very pleased at what I've done so far ... going from where I've come from, to now over the past year, it's been pretty cool". And, if you feel like a real kick to the gut, think of this: between this and 11, Woods carded two strokes that traveled a total of two inches.

However, Koepka was immune to the pressure and calmly went about his business. Tiger [Woods] was charging at times, and that was filtering back through the groups, certainly. "It kind of pushes you to step up your game".

"We had a ideal number into 15, and then 16, I mean, I hit a laser right at the flag".

Koepka started Sunday ahead of 10 players within four shots off the lead. I didn't know what swing I was going to use, either. "It was pretty obvious when Tiger made a birdie". "I think everybody at the golf course cheers for him".

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It's hard to surmise, at the moment, just how good, in historical terms, Koepka might be.

Although he owns a European Tour victory and four on its secondary circuit, Koepka has just one win on the US PGA Tour outside the majors.

It was a marathon day of golf for Woods who was one of 77 players pulling double duty to complete his rain-interrupted second round while putting his surgically repaired back to the test. Spent four weeks as world number one earlier this season.

Koepka took a two-shot lead down the 18th after Scott missed a great chance to make it a one-shot shoot-out coming down the final hole.

"There are more people here this week than I think I've ever seen at a major championship", said Koepka, the victor of the 100th PGA Championship.

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Koepka hit a 4-iron to 6 feet on the 248-yard 16th hole to set up birdie and take a two-shot cushion into the final two holes. The birdie on 13 got Woods to within a shot of Koepka, who was playing behind him, and it felt like Woods was going to win.

Tiger has never played a professional round of golf in St. Louis. Woods is presently a vice captain and has rocketed up the Official World Golf Rankings after a second-place PGA finish.

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