KIAWAH ISLAND — They didn’t have to deal with epic traffic jams — most of them stayed right on the island — but golfers in the 94th PGA Championship say they’d like to see another major at the Ocean Course.
“An incredible venue,” said champion Rory McIlroy, who spent every afternoon on the beach.
Said Phil Mickelson, “This was really a good golf course for this tournament. I mean, it really hosted it well.”
Defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who tied for third, said he could see returning — on occasion.
“I think every once in a while, it’s a great spot with weather like this,” he said. “This is very nice.”
But Mickelson was aware of the trouble fans had to endure.
“We have some of the most loyal fans in golf when you hear what they had to go through,” he said.
“They had to park a long ways away, they had to take a big bus ride in, and you walk this difficult course. We are very appreciative of what the fans here go through, because it’s not the easiest venue for them to watch and observe.”
Davis Love III has three weeks to announce his four captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup, but the other eight spots are locked in. Phil Mickelson held Steve Stricker and Bo Van Pelt at bay for the No. 8 spot coming out of the PGA Championship, the final qualifying event on the PGA Tour.
The other seven: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
The Ryder Cup is set for Sept. 28-30 on U.S. soil at Medinah.
The biggest PGA Championship gainer for a European team spot was Ian Poulter, who vaulted into prime contention for one of Jose Maria Olazabal’s two September captain’s picks. Poulter finished in a tie for third place at the Ocean Course.
John Daly on his latest comeback trail shot a respectable 68-77-73-69 and finished 1 under, tied for 18th place.
“I honestly think my best round was Friday,” Daly said of the windy 77. “I thought par was about 78 so I feel like I shot 1 under on Friday just to hang in there.”
Daly said he feels good about his game.
“I just feel like I’ve got a great rhythm,” he said. “It’s nice to know that if I can just make a few extra putts, maybe one or two more a round, I can be in contention.”
Joost Luiten, a former ski-jumper from The Netherlands, had himself quite the PGA Championship. He threatened the course record of 63 on Thursday, reaching 8-under-par while shooting a 31 on the back nine.
On Saturday, he was penalized a stroke for a double-hit. Trying to tap in a short putt at No. 16 with a one-handed stroke, Luiten hit the ball twice, the second time after the toe of the putter struck the ground.
Luiten himself brought the incident to the attention of officials, who reviewed the video and assessed the penalty, leaving him with a 3-over 75 in the third round.
Pete Dye built a new tee to make the 12th hole at the Ocean Course a drivable par-4 at 305 yards, but the PGA of America never got the opportunity to use it. They did, however, tempt golfers with another drivable par-4, the third hole which played 395 and 391 yards during the first two rounds but 317 Saturday and 293 on Sunday. The course played its second longest on Sunday at 7,611 yards. On Friday it measured 7,668, while it was set at 7,521 for the second round and 7,451 for the third round.
During Sunday’s early broadcast on TNT, CBS’ Jim Nantz said the production crew had lost two of its ground microphones to hungry alligators.
Carl Pettersson was not the only player hit with a penalty Sunday.
Zach Johnson took a one-stroke penalty on 18 when his ball moved after he began his stroke on a short putt. Like Luiten, Johnson notified officials. Video was not conclusive, but Johnson said the ball moved.
He shot 79 Sunday to finish at 12-over.
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