SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — It was a rough start to the second round of the PGA Championship for PGA of America rules officials on Friday. A steady rain was falling when play began off the first and 10th tees at 7 a.m., but that turned out to be the least of their logistical worries.
As Colt Knost, Yuta Ikeda and club pro Joe Summerhays (officially Group 14) were playing No. 10 to start their rounds, it became apparent that the hole-location sheet given to this first threesome incorrectly identified where the cup was on the 440-yard par 4.
The sheet Knost/Summerhays/Ikeda received listed the hole as being on the left side of the green (20 paces from the front, four from the left edge), when the hole was actually cut on the right side (19 paced from the front, five from the right edge).
After hitting the fairway with his drive, Knost had 211 yards left to the green and played his second shot with a 5-wood. He missed the green short and right, a position that would have given him a reasonable chip shot had the hole-location sheet been correct. Instead, as he walked to the green, he saw where the hole actually was and realized he was now short-sided with a difficult third shot. He chipped on to 29 feet, but missed the par putt and had to settle for a bogey 5.
“I called an official over and said, ‘What’s going on here?’ ” Knost detailed after his round. “And he said, ‘We messed up.’ ”
According to a release from the PGA of America, the Rules Committee realized the error after the players hit their second shots. Shortly after, officials handed out revised hole-location sheets to the group, and to all subsequent groups.
“People are going to say we should be able to tell what side of the green [the flag] is on, but I was 210 yards out and it was raining rather hard,” Knost said. “We just expected the pin to be right.”
Ikeda also made bogey on the hole, having hit his drive into a water hazard off the tee and taking a penalty. Summerhays made par.
The bad start didn’t have a lingering impact on Ikeda, who went on to shoot a three-under 67 after an opening 70, leaving him near the top of the leader board. But Knost shot a three-over 73 on Friday and finished 36 holes at two-over 142, a number that looked like it would be flirting with the cut line. (Summerhays shot a 73 but was nine over for the tournament.)
At the end of their round, PGA of America chief championship officer Kerry Haigh met with the threesome in the scoring tent and personally apologized for the mistake.
Knost knows it only impacted his group, but that didn’t make it any less upsetting.
“It sucks,” he said. “I made bogey there and that could be the difference between me playing tomorrow or not. I hope it’s not, but it will be pretty frustrating if it is.
“It’s a big deal and it shouldn’t happen in tournaments like this. It shouldn’t happen in any tournament.”
Editor's Note, 8:01 p.m. Friday: After the cut line danced back and forth between one over and two over, it finally settled at two-over 142, meaning Knost would be playing on the weekend after all—and everybody could breath a sigh of relief.