The parade of birdies, magnificent shot-making and record scores that we witnessed over the last few days as Jason Day held off Jordan Spieth to win the US PGA Championship is exactly what we want from golf.
Day was just superb. He had challenged at Majors before but hadn’t lasted the pace and could have crumbled at various stages, such as when he double bogeyed at the 15th on Saturday, yet carried on admirably.
He took charge from the get-go and finished the job in style on Sunday, when he was the best player on the course despite new world No1 Jordan Spieth’s relentless brilliance pushing him all the way.
The Australian is a lovely boy and always speaks well. It was never in doubt that he was a good winner, but to do it in a Major is what reaching the top is all about. Rory McIlroy went out and beat everyone on the biggest stages at a young age; it stands you in very good stead.
While not as youthful as Rory was, 27-year-old Day’s breakthrough has also come when still relatively young.
For some players it doesn’t open the floodgates, such as in the case of England’s Justin Rose, who has gone close since winning the 2013 US Open without adding to his Major collection, and Darren Clarke, whose Open triumph came later in life.
But Day has all the attributes needed to go on from here and win several more, not least hunger: he loves it and you can see he loves it. He is very much still improving and this could just get the ball rolling.
It could also mean that, rather than a much-heralded two-way fight, this is the start of a three-man era. In the past we had Nicklaus, Palmer and Player; now we have McIlroy, Spieth and Day.
You certainly can’t say enough about Spieth. It looked for all the world like the Texan 22-year-old might add to his Masters and US Open wins when he finished Saturday’s third round with six birdies in eight holes.
That put him in the final group on Sunday and, though he kept the pressure on right until the last tee, Day’s Major-record score of 20 under par was just too good.
Rory, who finished 17th on nine under on his comeback from five weeks out with torn ankle ligaments, is still world class, just a little rusty. He didn’t make as many up-and-downs as Spieth and that cost him.
Rose played great to finish fourth, six behind Day, while a further shot back was India’s Anirban Lahiri – a player I have praised before in this column – enjoying a huge watershed result. He played beautifully.