PGA CEO apologizes for crowd control on 18

PGA CEO apologizes for crowd control on 18

11:48 PM ET

  • Bob HarigESPN Senior Writer

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    • Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
    • Covered golf for more than 20 years
    • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

The CEO of the PGA of America apologized Monday for the poor crowd control on the 18th hole of the Ocean Course as eventual winner Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka tried to complete the final round of the PGA Championship.

Both players were swarmed by boisterous spectators on Sunday at South Carolina’s Kiawah Island course as Mickelson became the oldest major winner by capturing the PGA for his sixth major title. Koepka tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen.

Mickelson said it was “unnerving,” and Koepka was critical of the situation, saying his injured right knee got “dinged” as he attempted to make his way up the fairway.

“While we welcome enthusiastic fan engagement, we regret that a moment of high elation and pent-up emotion by spectators during the conclusion of yesterday’s historic PGA Championship briefly overwhelmed security and made two players and their caddies feel vulnerable,” said Seth Waugh, the PGA CEO, in a statement. “We always put player safety at the top of our list and are grateful order was restored. I have spoken to both players and apologized on behalf of the Association.”

The tournament originally announced that attendance would be capped at 10,000 spectators per day due to COVID-19 protocols. But with restrictions being loosened across the country and in South Carolina, the crowds were considerably larger throughout the event. There were thousands of people lining both sides of the fairway at the 18th on Sunday.

“Yeah, it would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury,” Koepka said of the scene at the last hole. “Got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s—, personally. But if I was fine, yeah, it would have been cool. It’s cool for Phil. But getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.”