PGA of America Apologizes to Mickelson, Koepka for Swarm of Fans at PGA ChampionshipMay 25, 2021
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh has issued an apology to Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka on Monday after fans swarmed the 18th hole during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship on Sunday.
Mickelson, who won the tournament to become golf's oldest major champion at age 50, called the scene "a little bit unnerving, but it was exceptionally awesome, too," while Koepka said his surgically repaired right knee was struck by spectators rushing through the crowd that was following his playing partner toward the green.
"Yeah, it would have been cool if I didn't have a knee injury," Koepka told reporters. "Got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s--t, 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."
A similar scene developed during the final round of the 2018 Tour Championship, when Tiger Woods won his first tournament in more than four years.
The difference in that is the security was able to keep the crowd mostly behind Woods and Rory McIlroy. In this instance, the fans rushed ahead of Mickelson and Koepka to position themselves near the green and forced the players to fight through the mass of humanity.
Koepka explained his caddie, Ricky Elliott, was also struck and had to stop for a moment, which left them even deeper in the crowd as they tried to approach the green.
"Somebody jammed Ricky," Koepka said. "Ricky stopped unintentionally because he got drilled in the face, and then I got hit because he got stopped so quickly. There were so many people around."
It showcased that crowd control, which hasn't been a factor for much of the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is once again a concern. The announced attendance for the PGA Championship was 10,000 fans per day, and the PGA of America is hoping to reach full capacity for September's Ryder Cup.
The PGA Tour season resumes Thursday with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The next major, the U.S. Open, begins June 17 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.