Aug
12
2012
Catch me if you can…
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

Rory in red...

Rory McIlroy is starting to pull away from the field. He opened with birdies on two of his first three holes. Another birdie on the par-5 7th got him to 10-under. With 11 to play, he has a four-shot lead. And I’m about to head out to walk with him on the back nine. If you’d like coverage to supplement the telecast, then best way is to follow me on Twitter (sorry I’ve mentioned that in, like, the last 6 posts, but it’s because I haven’t had time to blog in this space).

A quick update first.

Ian Poulter started hot with five straight birdies, then another one on the 7th, but a bogey on the 8th brought him back to six-under. He got the shot back on the 11th after knocking a dart to about five feet and dropping the putt. Poulter is 7-under through 11. If he wins, I’m jumping in a marsh. And yes I know, there are gators.

Oh yeah, Tiger is hitting some squirrely shots and saving par. He’s two-under through 11, four-under total. He’ll need a miracle to catch Rory, who is making the turn at 10-under. Another top-five finish at a major for Tiger (and another year to wait to try and capture No. 15). Ouch. It’s becoming a pattern…

Meanwhile, Carl Pettersson received a stupid two-stroke penalty on the first hole. He was in a hazard next to a sandy area and asked a rules official if the club could touch the grass. The answer was yes. He hit a fantastic shot out and made par. Not so fast. On the fourth tee he was informed that while he was in the hazard, his club grazed a leaf on his backswing. Though it didn’t affect the outcome of his shot or give him an advantage, that’s a two-shot penalty under Rule 13-4.

Hmmm. Well, we know about the local rule implemented this week — no bunkers! But there ARE plenty of bunkers with regular bunker sand. See this tweet for examples of a regular bunker sand and sandy area sand. Also, pictures here show K.J. Choi and Aaron Baddeley blasting regular bunker sand out of greenside bunkers.

ESPN columnist Ian O’Connor summed it up well with this tweet: “You can ground your club in the sand at the PGA but God forbid a stray leaf moves in the hazard on your backswing. Farce.”

Pettersson is hanging in there still. He’s making the turn at six-under (he would be eight-under without penalty — I’m a math whiz!).

Alright, see ya later alligators.

*Update: PGA of America just issued this:

Carl Pettersson was assessed a two-stroke penalty on the first hole of the final round of the 94th PGA Championship for a breach of Rule 13-4c when he moved a loose impediment lying in a lateral water hazard, while his ball was lying in the same hazard.

Pettersson hit his tee shot into the lateral water hazard to the right of the fairway. Before making the stroke, he asked the walking official, Brad Gregory, if he was allowed to touch grass, in the hazard, with his club, prior to the stroke.

Pettersson was correctly informed that he could do so, provided that he did not ground the club in the hazard. In making his backswing, Pettersson’s club brushed the grass behind the ball (not a breach) and at the same time moved a leaf (loose impediment), in breach of the Rule.

Pettersson was immediately notified by Gregory that there may have been a breach of Rule 13-4c, and that he (Gregory) wanted the stroke to be reviewed on video for confirmation.

PGA Rules Chairman, David Price, reviewed the stroke on video and confirmed that a loose impediment was moved during Pettersson’s backswing.

Pettersson was notified of the penalty as he left the fourth tee. His score for the par-4 first hole was a 6.

(Getty Images/Andrew Redington)