This is the first of a three-part series detailing the year that was in PGA Golf in 2015.
The 2014-2015 season was the 100th for the PGA Tour, and the earliest to start in all that time, with play getting underway on October 9, 2014. Here’s a look back at the year in review, starting in mid-October of 2014.
Frys.com Open – South Korea’s Sang-moon Bae emerged victorious in the first event of the year, at 15-under to finish two strokes ahead of Steven Bowditch. The two would be teammates for the International Team at the Presidents Cup nearly a year later. It was Bae’s second career PGA win, but came just ahead of controversy as he lost a ruling stating that he would have to return to Korea to take part in his mandatory military service for his home nation. Bae will miss all of the 2016 and 2017 seasons as a result.
Shriners Hospital for Children Open – American Ben Martin took the win, the first of his PGA career, finishing two strokes ahead of Kevin Streelman with a 20-under 264, highlighted by a Day 3 62.
McGladrey Classic – Two weeks produced two first-time winners as Robert Streb held off Brendon de Jonge and Will MacKenzie in a playoff to win for the first time with a 14-under 266.
It was a quick start to a great campaign for Streb, who finished 18th at The Open Championship and 10th at the PGA Championship.
CIMB Classic – No matter the 5,000-mile trip, Ryan Moore happily defended his title at the CIMB Classic by three strokes with a 17-under 271. A few months later Moore would finish tied for 12th at The Masters.
WGC-HSBC Champions – Bubba Watson knocked of South Africa’s Tim Clark on the first hole of a playoff to win the first WGC event of the year. Watson didn’t add another Major to his collection in 2015, but you could hardly argue his results: two wins, 10 top 10 finishes, and 14 Top 25 finishes in 19 events.
Sanderson Farms Championship – Nick Taylor became the first Canadian in seven years to win a PGA title, firing a 16-under 272 to take the title by two strokes.
OHL Classic – Charley Hoffman edged Shawn Stefani by a single stroke to win the OHL Classic with a 17-under 267. It was Hoffman’s first win on tour in four years and led to a Top 10 finish at The Masters.
Hero World Challenge – It was Tiger Woods’ tournament to host, but Jordan Spieth’s to take center stage. Spieth broke the tournament record held jointly by Woods and Davis Love III by four strokes with a 26-under 262. While the tournament didn’t count in the official standings, it was the first step of Spieth’s monster year, which included five wins – including two Majors and The Tour Championship.
Hyundai Tournament of Champions – Patrick Reed kicked off in 2015 in gorgeous Hawaii with an equally gorgeous victory, winning a playoff over Jimmy Walker with a 21-under 271. It was Reed’s fourth PGA title in a 17-month span.
Sony Open in Hawaii – Jimmy Walker kept up his trend of early-season success, repeating as champion at the Sony Open in Hawaii with a dominant 23-under 257 to win by nine strokes over Scott Piercy. Of Walker’s five PGA titles, four of them have come before Valentine’s Day.
Humana Challenge – Bill Haas won the title for the second time in his career, and grew the family total of wins here to three with his 1-stroke win over five other players. Haas finished with a 22-under 266, highlighted by a second-round 63. He had previously won the event in 2010 when it was the Bob Hope Classic, and his father Jay won it in 1988.