LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Graeme McDowell didn’t mind having a little fun with a PGA of America rules official as he walked along the 14th hole at Valhalla Golf Club early in Saturday’s third round.
He called over Mark Wilson and expressed disappointment at the second choice of a hole location at the par-4 13th. Sympathetically, Wilson shook his head and told McDowell, “I know, I saw it.”
“It” being the two shots McDowell hit into the water from about 100 yards. The Northern Irishman’s quadruple-bogey spoiled an otherwise splendid round – it was his only blemish as he shot level-par 71 – but he conceded he was having fun with Wilson. McDowell totally understood the last-minute decision to shift the hole location at the 13th, moving it off the front left portion of the green to higher ground.
With all the water that Valhalla has absorbed, many of the greens with their severe slopes produce areas where water collects.
McDowell said, “the change (of hole location) had nothing to do” with the wedge shots he hit into the water that guards the near-island green. He said he may have had a mud ball on the first, but the second was just a poor shot.
As first out, along with Brendon Todd, McDowell got word on his 10th hole about the new location for the flagstick at 13. That provided plenty of time to be prepared. There was a little less notice about a second edit when he was told at the 16th that the hole location at 18 had been moved. Instead of being on the front right portion of the green it was moved back, almost to “the famous Bob May-Tiger Woods (2000 PGA) hole,” he said after hitting his third shot to kick-in range.
“I’d call it the Sunday pin,” McDowell said, “which has me interested in where they’ll put it tomorrow.”