SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — When Henrik Stenson’s putt gently toppled into the cup on the final hole of the British Open two weeks ago, there was more significance to it than the closing 63 that earned the Swede his first major triumph.

Stenson finished the tournament at Royal Troon at a remarkable 20-under par, with Phil Mickelson being the only player to get within 14 shots of him.

His score tied for the lowest in relation to par in the history of majors. The first to get there? Jason Day in taking his first major in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Four months before that, Jordan Spieth shot 18 under to capture his first Masters, tying the Augusta record set by Tiger Woods in 1997. Don’t these guys know majors are supposed to be hard?

And now they begin the 98th PGA Championship on Thursday at Baltusrol Golf Club, which has been a haven for record-breakers, even if they pale by today’s standards.

In the 1967 U.S. Open here, Jack Nicklaus’ famous 1-iron to the 18th green helped him shoot 275 and break by one Ben Hogan’s tournament scoring record. Thirteen years later, Nicklaus beat his own mark by scoring 8-under 272 at Baltusrol. Lee Janzen came to New Jersey in 1993 and tied Nicklaus.

Mickelson’s winning score here in the 2005 PGA was 4 under, which seems like a laughably easy target now. Heck, Dustin Johnson shot 4 under (including his Sunday penalty stroke) at brutal Oakmont to win this year’s U.S. Open.

It seems as if there is now a sizable handful of players who can go absurdly low, rather than the one guy who wore red shirts every Sunday. Maybe there are just more like Woods now, in both skill and mentality.

Some are reaching territory Woods never touched.

“I think Tiger was so good, I think if he needed to get to those numbers, he probably could have,” four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said. “But he did enough. He did what he needed to do. Do I feel like I’m playing five or 10 Tigers out there? No. I feel like that would be disrespectful toward Tiger.

“But the fields are deeper and so many guys have chances to win tournaments. I feel like technology has definitely brought fields closer together. Guys are able to hit out there as long as they need to now, and it’s a matter of just doing it when it counts.”

McIlroy has two blowout major victories of his own, winning the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA by eight shots each.

The length at which players are driving the ball plays a big role in the scores. Johnson, McIlroy and Day all average more than 300 yards in driving. On the back nine at Baltusrol, the par-4 hole yardages are 460, 431, 451, 430 and 453. That puts a short club into their hand on every approach to the green.

“The guys are just younger and stronger and fitter and faster, and they are just long out there,” Day said. “So just the competition is really, really tough right now.

“When I first came out in 2006,” he said, “I remember some of the cut lines were plus-one, plus-two, and now most of the cut lines are under par.”

There clearly has been a change in mentality of how much respect is afforded any golf course. For a player to simply go out and ease his way into a major, thinking par is a reasonable score early on, is to possibly get buried.

After Speith made a record 28 birdies in his 2015 Masters win, he also captured the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Since then he has a fourth and two seconds in majors, but the last two he’s been far from contention: 37th in this year’s U.S. Open and 30th in the British Open.

“Improvements in technology I think is certainly a part of it,” Spieth said of the low scoring in majors. “I think part of it is also seeing those scores shot gives a belief to everybody else that, hey, I know this is a major … but you know what, guys are shooting 18-, 19-, 20-under in these tournaments.

“Maybe that’s what it takes. Maybe your expectations of that week are set differently, which could eventually inspire better play.”