Rude: Kiawah a logistical nightmare
Friday, August 17, 2012
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
The week before the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, Tiger Woods volunteered these prophetic words of caution: “I don’t know how spectators are going to get around the place. First of all, I don’t know how they’re going to get there.”
Though the Ocean Course made for a good championship test and televised event, the 94th PGA went down as a logistical nightmare for fans and anyone traveling the one road in from nearby Charleston, S.C. One-way bus trips from Charleston took an hour minimum because of traffic, and those were the lucky ones. At least one bus ride on Friday morning took 2 1/2 hours, and several others lasted 2 hours.
One spectator tweeted that after play was halted for good Saturday night, he waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to get on a shuttle, then endured a 90-minute ride to a nearby parking lot just to get to his car. That’s four hours before even driving home.
Another fan told me his trip from the Ocean Course to a Charleston hotel lasted four hours Saturday night. That included problems in the muddy spectator parking lot that required his car, and many others’, be pushed out.
Another veteran fan told me that once he finally got to the course, he encountered his worst spectator experience ever because of “general poor viewing” and more. The South Carolina businessman said he couldn’t get near any tee box except the last two, couldn’t find a place to sit and eat and thought heat relief was substandard.
So if the PGA of America is considering returning to Kiawah, it should think again and just say no emphatically. Kiawah might be suited for a four-man PGA Grand Slam or Skins Game or two-man Shell’s match or maybe even another Ryder Cup, but it was overmatched when putting on the spectacle of a major championship with 156 players (and their caddies and entourages) because of the infrastructure issues.
Some veteran writers seemed to think it was the worst major ever, and that wasn’t even factoring in the 5 1/2-hour rounds.
“The only way the PGA should come back here is if they have flying buses,” one scribe said.
Couldn’t agree more.
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Oddly, Tiger Woods was 8 under par combined the first two rounds of this year’s majors but 15 over on the weekend. This from someone who has carved his legacy by excelling on major weekends.
It is perhaps reasonable to wonder if he’s pressing too much as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles. Whatever, his weekend record this year is stunning, given that he used to rise above in the most pressurized situations.
Woods at the moment seems to be having some problems in left-to-right wind, perhaps not feeling totally comfortable turning the ball over in that current. One gets the sense, too, that he plays away from his driver at times.
In other words, he has plenty of work to do. The hunch here is that he’ll figure it out.
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Rory McIlroy is a superstar with the potential to set many records. But any comparison to Woods at this stage is way premature and unfair to the Northern Irishman. What he and Woods do have in common is this: They are rare separation players, men who can win multiple majors by eight shots.
We’re fortunate their careers are overlapping. The next 5-8 years will be interesting to watch. My sense is they’ll push each other.
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Trivia question: Who are the four players since 1960 who have won at least four Tour titles before age 24? Answer below.
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Will Woods, with 14 major successes but none since June 2008, break Nicklaus’ record of 18? Sure, he has a chance, but it won’t be easy. Time isn’t on his side.
He turns 37 in December. Only Ben Hogan, with six, has won at least five majors after turning 37. Nicklaus and Sam Snead each won four, and Gary Player did so three times.
Historically, one out of Woods’ five PGA Tour victories has been a major. So, given his usual rate, if you think Woods will win five more, then you’d also have to figure he’ll win about 25 more tournaments. And that appears unlikely at this point.
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Stop the presses. At the PGA, Matt Kuchar missed his first cut since the 2011 RBC Canadian Open, ending a streak of 24 made in a row.
Still, I’m fairly certain there was a smile on his red face.
• • •
Several prominent players are outside the top 125 and in jeopardy of missing the FedEx Cup playoffs entering this week’s Wyndham Championship, the last qualifier. The list includes major champions Y.E. Yang (129), John Daly (137) and Justin Leonard (157), plus Gary Woodland (130).
Their chances of getting to the Tour Championship are slim. Since the FedEx Cup began in 2007, no player outside the line entering the Wyndham has ended up in the top 30.
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Trivia answer: Tiger Woods (15), Jack Nicklaus (eight) and Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy (four each).
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Carl Pettersson has been using a long putter since he was a teenager. He is mindful that governing bodies are considering a ban on the “anchoring” stroke used with the broomstick, but he suggested the putter was a disadvantage in the big wind of the PGA second round.
“They should try it when it’s blowing 30 (mph),” he said.
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One final thought: While they are at it, they should leave long and belly putters alone. If anchoring is so effective, why isn’t everyone doing it?