KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Carl Pettersson kept himself at or near the top all week long at the PGA Championship. If only he’d had a leaf blower in his golf bag.
Pettersson’s chance for his first major championship ended early when he grazed a leaf with his backswing while hitting out of a lateral water hazard. Pettersson was given a two-stroke penalty that turned his opening par into a double-bogey 6 that he couldn’t recover from.
The rules of golf state you can’t move a loose impediment lying in the hazard.
“I’ve got to take it on the chin, obviously, but it’s one of those stupid rules,” he said.
Pettersson was quickly told he may have broken the rule, but officials wanted to check the videotape. Rules chairman David Price confirmed the violation and told Pettersson he had incurred the penalty. Price came to the scorer’s trailer after Pettersson’s round and told the player officials were sure the ruling was correct. Pettersson said he would accept the decision. “They wouldn’t lie,” he said. “I mean, they said they looked at it a million times.”
Pettersson tried not to let the penalty affect his game and made three straight birdies on the front to keep pace with McIlroy, one of his playing partners. But Pettersson eventually ran out of gas and finished with a 72 for a 4-under 284, tied for third with last year’s PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. The group was nine shots behind champion Rory McIlroy, but Pettersson would’ve finished alone in second without the penalty.
Petterson said he won’t worry about what the mistake cost him. “I’ve got to look at the positives,” he said. “I had a great week. I had a chance to win. Just didn’t do it. And we’ll give it a shot next year.”
DONALD LOSES NO. 1
Luke Donald left The Ocean Course without a major and without the No. 1 ranking.
Donald had been No. 1 in the world since late May when he took the top spot from Rory McIlroy. The 23-year-old McIlroy regained the No. 1 position Sunday with an eight-stroke victory in the PGA Championship.
Donald never truly contended early on as he tied for 32nd at the Masters back in April, then missed the cut in the U.S. Open. He rallied at the British Open to finish fifth and had hoped he could be in the mix at The Ocean Course. Instead, Donald took himself out of contention with rounds of 74, 76 and 74. He recovered Sunday to shoot 66, but far too late to catch McIlroy. Donald finished at 2 over — 15 shots behind the winner.
Pettersson wasn’t the only player who broke the rules Sunday.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson was assessed a one-stroke penalty on the 18th hole – his ninth hole of the final round – when his ball moved after he addressed it.
Johnson was credited with a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th hole and a 79 for the round.
Joost Luiten, a 26-year-old European Tour pro playing his first PGA Championship, was also docked a stroke when he struck a short putt twice with his putter on the 16th hole as he finished his third round Sunday morning.
His penalty gave him a 75 and dropped him to 3-over par.
RYDER CUP STATUS QUO
Phil Mickelson won’t have to spend the next three weeks wondering if he’ll be in the Ryder Cup.
In the final qualifying event for eight Americans to earn their way onto the team, there was no change after the PGA Championship. Mickelson was holding down the No. 8 spot, and he was assured of qualifying for the ninth straight time when neither Bo Van Pelt nor Steve Stricker could make a run on the back nine at Kiawah Island.
Tiger Woods again led the standings.
Also qualifying were Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar. Dufner, Bradley and Simpson will be playing for the first time. The Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at Medinah.
Davis Love will announce his four captain’s picks in three weeks.