Though the swarm of fans on the final hole at Sunday’s PGA Championship provided a moment rarely seen in the sport, not everyone in the final group at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island was happy with it.
On Monday night, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh apologized to Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and their caddies for the incidents — which Koepka said left him feeling attacked.
“While we welcome fan engagement, we regret that a moment of high elation and pent-up emotion by spectators on the 18th hole during the conclusion of yesterday’s historic PGA Championship briefly overwhelmed security and made two players and their caddies feel vulnerable,” Waugh said in a statement on Monday night. “We always put player safety at the top of our list and are grateful that order was restored.
“I have spoken to both players and apologized on behalf of the Association.”
Mickelson swarmed by fans during historic win
Mickelson, 50, became the oldest man to win a major championship when he claimed the PGA Championship by two shots on Sunday in South Carolina. The victory marked the 45th PGA Tour win for Mickelson, which ties him for the eighth-most all time, and his sixth major win.
The scene on the final hole was wild. Just like they did for Tiger Woods’ win at East Lake when he won the Tour Championship, Mickelson disappeared into a mob of fans for his final walk up to the green.
Brooks Koepka felt attacked
While the scene was incredible to watch, Mickelson’s playing partner wasn’t happy about it.
Koepka slammed the fans after his round — he finished 2-over on the day and finished in a tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen — and said he didn’t feel safe, especially considering he underwent knee surgery in March.
“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s***, personally,” Koepka said. “But if I was fine, yeah it would’ve been cool.
“Yeah, it’s cool for Phil. But getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.”
Koepka said he was simply trying to protect himself during the walk up, and that his caddie, Rickie, didn’t feel safe either. He stopped just short of accusing fans of intentionally trying to hit him in the commotion.
“I don't know, it got bumped a few times,” he said. “Somebody jammed Rickie, Rickie stopped unintentionally because he got drilled in the face, and then I got drilled in the bag because he got stopped so quickly. But I don't know what someone tried to or what, I don't know what the deal was. There were so many people around.”
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