For golf fans, it was a magical week of golf — coupled with some decidedly Rochester-like weather — as Oak Hill Country Club hosted the 2023 PGA Championship. Brooks Koepka put an exclamation point on his comeback from injury and doubt to win the coveted Wanamaker Trophy.
That wasn’t the only big moment that had fans riled up.
225,000 golf fans bought tickets to the 2023 PGA Championship. Seemingly, each one had a favorite. The practice rounds were a chance to connect with new fans, who collected autographs and photos with many of the pros.
Keepsakes from the 2023 PGA were not hard to find, though not always cheap. The price — of a tournament that pumped an estimated $190 million into the local economy.
The east course, to the average fan, looked spectacular. To the players, Oak Hill provided an immense challenge.
“I like it,” said touring pro Jon Rahm. “[It’s a] fun golf course. [It was] difficult but fun.”
“I like it,” added Justin Thomas, the 2022 PGA Champ who finished tied for 65th place at Oak Hill. “I mean, I love old school golf courses, I think they can create a lot of definition to holes.”
After nothing but sunshine for the practice rounds, Thursday’s opening round was delayed by, of all things — frost. The weather Friday was sunny. In the morning, before a light rain began to fall in the afternoon. On Saturday, a steady rain made a tough course even tougher.
Sunday’s final round saw Koepka in the driver’s seat. Fans navigated muddy pathways left by Saturday’s rain on an otherwise perfect day. One that saw PGA professional Michael Block’s perfect hole in one on the 15th. It seemed all of Rochester adopted the club pro from California during a week described over and over — as “magical.”
“It's been a surreal experience,” said Block. “And I have this weird kind of sensation that life's not going to be quite the same moving forward. But only in a good way.”
As Brooks Koepka walked up the 18th, the superstar who battled injuries and left the PGA for the LIV Tour was all but guaranteed victory. A short put sealed the two-stroke win — his fifth major.
“This one's definitely special,” said Koepka. “I think this one's probably the most meaningful of them all, with everything that's going on, all the other crazy stuff over the last few years, but it feels good to be back and win number five.”
It was the perfect ending to a wild week at Oak Hill.