McIlroy's star continues to climb

Maguire: That he isn't done with the majors just yet. Sure, it was his first top-10 on the PGA Tour this year, but a finish like this will get Lefty focused again, not just for the playoffs starting in a couple of weeks but more importantly for the 2015 major season.

O'Connor: We learned he's still capable of greatness, and still very much a threat to win a fourth green jacket in April. We learned that, at age 44, he can still go blow for blow with a 25-year-old juggernaut.

Wojciechowski: That Mickelson is 44 but still plays like 34. He said earlier in the week that he felt his game was on the brink of championship quality -- and he was right. We learned, for the millionth time, that Mickelson is an amazing competitor.

3. Fill in the blank: Rickie Fowler showed _________ at Valhalla.

Collins: The same guts and grit as in the other three majors this year. It's a shame for him it had to end like that, rushing in the dark at Valhalla.

Evans: With his performance in the majors this year, he brought his game to a new level of visibility that will keep us engaged for a long time, whenever he tees it up. It was his loud colored clothes that first captured our attention; now it's his tenacity and fight to win the most prestigious events in the world.

Harig: Hurt. This one stung Fowler. He's been hanging around in the majors all year, but in this one, he had a legitimate chance to win on the back nine. He was tied for the lead but couldn't quite get the birdies necessary. Another top-notch major performance, but it wasn't enough.

Maguire: Fowler showed a major championship victory is likely just around the corner. You don't hang that tough on that course with that leaderboard without proving you have the mettle to win a major.

O'Connor: Talent and toughness. Fowler is just one or two loose shots from breaking through in a major. He'll ultimately win more than one and end up as his generation's Phil to McIlroy's Tiger.

Wojciechowski: Heart ? patience ? maturity. I love his style and his competitiveness. Four top-5 finishes in this year's majors.

4. What's your lasting impression of the PGA Championship?

Collins: Winning score was 16 under and it was the most exciting major we had this year. People can say what they want about how majors should be tough tests, but when it comes down to it, birdies and eagles are much more fun to watch (even at a major) than bogeys and pars.

Evans: I will forever cherish McIlroy's 284-yard 3-metal at the 10th hole Sunday to set up the eagle to get him back to within a shot of the lead. That was as clutch as it gets in a major championship.

Harig: That Rory did it again. This has been an impressive stretch and an important one for golf. The game has been dying for someone to dominate. We've got him right now.

Maguire: The 96th PGA will certainly be remembered for McIlroy's fourth major win, but more noteworthy to me is that he was the overwhelming favorite and overcame the spotlight to take home the title. One of the hardest things to do is win when you are expected to, no matter the sport. And that is exactly what Rory accomplished.

O'Connor: That I still can't believe they got all four rounds in despite the weather. Beyond that, it was a great major with a great leaderboard.

Wojciechowski: It was a living, breathing golf soap opera. Never a dull moment. And as it turned out, never a dry moment, either. But it was easily the most entertaining major of the year.

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