SAPAKOFF COLUMN: So much for a home-state advantage
KIAWAH ISLAND — Why have golfers with ties to South Carolina performed so woefully this week in the Palmetto State's first major?
The answer, their friends, is blowing in the wind.
“(Friday) was just really tough,” Dustin Johnson, a Columbia native and former Coastal Carolina player, said Saturday. “It was just kind of survival.”
Still, it was soul-crushing South Carolina carnage, even in relative Ocean Course terms.
Eight PGA Championship participants with state ties were in the field, but only Johnson and Greenville's Bill Haas survived the cut.
Former Clemson golfer Michael Hoey was disqualified Friday night.
Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion and former Tiger, departed the Ocean Course so fast Friday he hurried ahead of his caddy and carried his own clubs.
Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, the Bishopville native and former Dunes West cart attendant, suffered through a second-round 81.
Johnson's three-day scores were 71-79-72. Haas carded a 3-under 69 on Saturday after going 75-73 in the first two rounds.
“A lot of guys struggled,” Haas said. “I don't think it really matters that you're from South Carolina. I mean, certainly you have the home support from friends and family and all of that stuff, but it's nobody's home course.”
Also failing to make the cut: Clemson guys Kyle Stanley and Jonathan Byrd; and former Wofford golfer William McGirt.
McGirt, from Boiling Springs, has good excuses. He made the field as the first alternate when Keegan Bradley, the defending PGA champion, won the WGC-Bridgestone last week to open a spot.
But poor Hoey.
A native of Northern Ireland, he was cruising along — apparently eight shots back with a second-round 70 — when he inadvertently incurred a two-stroke penalty for failing to re-create a lie by replacing sand on his ball on the eighth hole. Hoey initially removed said sand to identify the ball.
It's been a tough 2012 for Glover, on and off the course. He injured a knee in January during a Pacific Ocean paddleboard fall. Another fall: to No. 149 in the World Golf Rankings.
If only those cut could have played in the nicer conditions Saturday morning.
“(Thursday) there was hardly any wind so (Saturday) was much harder than that,” Haas said, “but nothing compared to Friday. Even with the 15 mph winds (Saturday), it felt a little more tame.”
The Johnson brothers
Johnson and Haas will not contend today for their first major title, but are enjoying some perks.
“It's very exciting,” Haas said. “Any time you play in a major on the weekend is good and for it to be here in South Carolina, I'm getting a lot of support out there, which is nice. I was happy to shoot a good round and hopefully I can do it again (Sunday).”
Johnson is hanging out inside the ropes with his younger brother Austin, a 25-year-old former Charleston Southern basketball player.
“It's been a lot of fun, especially having a major here in town,” said Austin Johnson, who is completing work on a Business degree at the College of Charleston. “I worked here at Kiawah Island last summer at Turtle Point and it's just really neat to see the best players in the world here playing with my brother.”
The next major might work out better for South Carolina's top golfers.
Very nearby — Augusta — and probably less windy.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff