Bob Gillespie



Wednesday PGA notebook: Getting here not half the fun

Posted 8/9/2012 9:00:00 AM

Courtesy of the PGA of America communications department, here’s a look at on- and off-course events at Wednesday’s final pre-tournament practice session for the 94th PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

They said it: "I left London at 12 on Sunday, and I got here (Charleston) at 2:30 Monday afternoon. I had a nightmare." -- 2012 Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman of England, who was in airports in Washington, D.C., for 14 hours. He also had his clubs and suitcase lost, and did not get them until 8 p.m. Monday.

Pauses for interruptions: The severe weather that roared through The Ocean Course caused stoppages of play on two separate occasions. The first stoppage covered approximately 65 minutes, until play resumed at 9:05 a.m., and the second lasted roughly 75 minutes, with play resuming at 1:03 p.m.

Major-ready?: While the first three major champions for 2012 have been determined -- Bubba Watson (Masters), Webb Simpson (U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (Open Championship) -- several other players fared well in those majors.

One is 2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell, who tied for 12th at the Masters, tied for second at the U.S. Open and tied for fifth at the British Open. Another is 2008 PGA Champion Padraig Harrington (T-8 in Masters, T-4 in U.S. Open and T-34 in British).

Jim Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open, this year was 11th in the Masters and tied for fourth at the U.S. Open before he finished tied for 34th at the British Open. Finally, Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion, lost in a playoff to Watson at the Masters and tied for 19th at the British Open.

Gaffney a major championship veteran ... in 2012: Brian Gaffney of Monmouth, N.J., the PGA head professional at Rumson (N.J.) Country Club, is a 2012 major championship veteran.

The 41-year-old PGA club professional, who qualified for the 94th PGA Championship after a tie for 15th in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship, is competing in his second major championship of the year. He missed the cut at the 2012 U.S. Open in June after rounds of 77-78--156 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Sergio’s streak: Sergio Garcia has not yet won a major golf championship but he does own the current record for most consecutive majors started. The PGA Championship this week will be Garcia's 54th straight major championship, with the streak dating back to the 1999 Open Championship, his first as a professional. In his second major as a professional, Garcia, then 19, battled Tiger Woods before falling one stroke short at the PGA Championship at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. That was Woods’ second major victory.

A rare bird: The albatross, a golf term for a double eagle (typically a 2 on a par-5), became an almost common sight in two of the first three major championships this year. Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion, made a 2 on Augusta National Golf Club's second hole in the final round of the Masters in April. Two months later, in the opening round of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, Nick Watney holed his second shot at the 17th hole for a deuce.

Notably, neither player went on to win. Oosthuizen lost a sudden-death playoff to winner Bubba Watson.

There are two albatrosses in PGA Championship history. The first came in 1993, when PGA club professional Darrel Kestner made double eagle on the 13th hole at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. In 1995, Sweden's Per-Ulrik Johansson made a 2 on the 11th hole at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Carolinas PGA’s lone entry: Kelly Mitchum, the lone member of the host Carolinas PGA Section in the 94th PGA Championship, is the lead PGA teaching professional at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort. Mitchum also was a member of America's finest Walker Cup Teams when he finished 1-1-0 in 1993 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn. The United States that year rolled past Great Britain & Ireland, 19-5.

Mitchum graduated in 1993 from N.C. State and was teammates in the international match with Justin Leonard, Allen Doyle, Jay Sigel, Tim Herron, Brian Gay, John Harris and Danny Yates. "What a great team we had!" said Mitchum, 41, who is making his fourth PGA Championship appearance. "It was a special week. There are a lot on that team that went on to great things."