Round 4: PGA Championship
August 12 2012
By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — There was nothing but positive comments concerning the putting surfaces during the 94th PGA Championship on The Ocean Course.
The paspalum greens held up beautifully as putts rolled well all week. There was very little grain in the greens and players made loads of long putts.
The surface, which can survive salt water, might be installed at other seaside courses.
Pace: Vijay Singh lost the speed of the greens as he completed his third round on Sunday morning and never regained his touch in the afternoon. Singh was ranked fourth in the tournament; taking 79 combined putts in his first 54 holes and then repeatedly left putts short and right in the final round.
Singh played 29 holes on Sunday and you wonder if fatigue was a factor for the 49-year-old major champion.
Tough track: What made the Ocean Course so difficult this week? It was a combination of wind and design. Crosswinds buffeted the layout, making it very difficult to pull a club. There were more scores in the 90s than in the 60s during a brutal second round on Friday. Players are use to windy conditions but the Ocean Course does not allow golfers to play the ball on the ground. Bunkers front most greens which required shots to be played in the air, plus the Bermuda turf is not firm enough to accommodate bump-and-run shots.
The Ocean Course will always be difficult because of design and the constant winds.
Tiger time: It was always going to be difficult for Tiger Woods to catch Rory McIlroy in the final round, but his approach into the third was telling. From 100 yards, his approach flew the green. Woods missed his number by 15 yards. That’s enormous. Tiger made a long putt to save his par, but he was not crisp enough with his scoring irons to win this week.
The Match: The Ocean Course will be busy on Monday. There is an annual post PGA Championship match between CBS network and PGA officials. The two have been matching scorecards since 1998 with plenty of trash talk and bragging rights on the line.
Chip shot: Peter Hanson played an unusual chip shot on the 13th hole. His approach was left of the green and he had to negotiate a huge ridge while aiming at a flag stick that was just four paces to the left of a water hazard. Hanson laid a wedge wide open, took a swing forceful enough to hit a ball 100 yards and purposely hit the shot fat as if he was playing out of a bunker.
A huge divot acted like a catapult and lifted the ball well into the air, over the ridge and it released five feet to the left of the cup. Hanson made the putt to save par.
Rory: Rory McIlroy lapped the field and certainly ran through the finish line playing a bogey-free final round. He did so many things well, but his putting really stood out. McIlroy one-putted a remarkable 11 times. His consistency was astounding. After play was suspended on Saturday, Rory made just one more bogey the entire tournament and that came at the 13th hole on Sunday morning.
McIlroy was also bogey free in the opening round and five of his seven bogeys for the week came in the high winds on Friday.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.