Mito Pereira (who?) stood on the 18th tee Sunday with a one-stroke lead. With a par, he would claim the 2022 PGA Championship and etch his name on the Wanamaker Cup. Instead, Pereira sliced his drive into the creek and double-bogeyed, giving a chance for Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris to duke it out in a three-hole playoff.
Thomas won the playoff and his second PGA title, earning a $2.7 million payday in the process. Pereira fell into a tie for third place and earned $870,000 – nearly a $2 million loss. Meanwhile, Zalatoris grabbed a $1.62 million prize for a runner-up finish, his second second-place result in a major over the past two years.
The $15 million purse at Southern Hills Country Club this weekend was a PGA Championship record. Originally, it was around $12 million, but there was a surprise announcement by the PGA of America on Saturday that a $3 million jump would be in effect. Just last month, The Masters announced it made a similar increase from $11.5 million to $15 million.
With 14 career victories – including this one for a whopping $2.7 million – the Louisville native Thomas moved to 12th all-time with $50 million in on-course earnings.
Biggest Comeback at a PGA Championship
Thomas came out firing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with back-to-back rounds of 67 to post a score of -6 after 36 holes. He sat in third place after two days, but then fell back with a third-round 74 to fall down the leaderboard.
Going into Sunday, it seemed impossible that Thomas had a shot at the title – sitting at -7, seven strokes behind Pereira’s -9 to begin the final round. But as the meltdowns occurred around him, Thomas kept making his push. He became only the second PGA Champion (John Mahaffey in 1978 at Oakmont Country Club) to come from behind and win after trailing by seven shots entering the final day.
The next major championship is the U.S. Open from June 15-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Open Championship will follow from July 14-17 at the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.