LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The pertinent statistics from Chris Wood's first-round 66 at the PGA Championship:
Five birdies, no bogeys, four pairs of pants.
Yes, four pairs of pants.
The Englishman had a round to remember for all the right and wrong reasons. On the 11th green at Valhalla Golf Club Thursday – his second hole of the day – Wood bent down to read a putt and felt the seam of his gray trousers rip straight down the seat. And not a small rip.
"Quite a big hole," he said.
Wood steadied himself long enough to make the putt, then went to the 12th tee in a most uncomfortable predicament: He was teeing off with his rear end facing straight toward the gallery. What did he hear from the fans?
"Oh, can you imagine?" he said. "I'm 6-foot-6 with a massive hole in my trousers in America. …It's the most embarrassed I've ever been on the golf course."
After teeing off on 12, Wood explained his predicament to a marshal, borrowed a pair of rain pants from playing partner Johan Kok and darted into a nearby portable toilet to change. Unfortunately, Kok is quite a bit shorter than the towering Wood, so it was time to change into another pair of borrowed rain pants behind a golf channel tower near the 13th fairway. Wood sweated it out in the humid Kentucky afternoon in those rain pants until the 17th hole, when his manager, Stuart Cage, materialized with yet another pair of pants.
Cage had hurried off the course and back to their hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, which is about 6½ miles from Valhalla. He rushed into Wood's room in search of pants – or so he thought.
"The lady I walked in on got quite a shock," Cage said dryly.
Cage eventually got into the right room and collected a thin pair of cream-colored pants for Wood. Which was fine, except for the fact that he was wearing black briefs.
But at that point, what did it matter?
"It was just a case of laughing at it," Wood said.
Despite the wardrobe malfunctions, Wood drove the ball brilliantly all day to set himself up for what he called his best round in a U.S. major, putting him just one shot off the lead. Some changes to his grip are coming to fruition, starting with a closing-round 65 at the British Open last month and continuing here.
Through his last two rounds of major tournament golf, Wood has zero bogeys. Unless you count playing with the seat of your pants ripped open as a bogey.
For what it's worth, Wood said he will bring two pairs of pants to Valhalla Friday. Just in case.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Wood
- PGA Championship
- Stuart Cage