PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club



Temper, temper

Jimmy Walker snapped his putter(!) and instantly got the needle from Rory McIlroy

April 05, 2024
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Jimmy Walker could have suffered the embarrassment in relative anonymity. But no, Golf Channel happened to catch him on the eighth hole on Friday in the Valero Texas Open doing something rarely witnessed on the PGA Tour. With Rory McIlroy doing on-air commentary, no less.

Walker, the 2016 PGA Championship winner, had a seven-foot putt for birdie at TPC San Antonio, but his ball slid left of the hole by a couple of feet. Walker didn’t show much emotion, but he's got an engine that can burn hot. As he walked to the ball, he put his hand on his putter head and made hard yank. Off came the head in Walker's hand! Don't go trying this at home, but how is that even possible?

McIlroy, in a good mood while appearing with Smylie Kaufman on Golf Channel's "Happy Hour" segment after climbing into contention, was in the middle of commenting how the wind might have affected the putt and stopped in mid-sentence. “Oh,” he said. And then "Oh" again.

Thinking quickly, McIlroy said, “We’ve all been there.”

Added Kaufman: “I must say, of the things I expected to happen just then, I don’t think I expected the club to snap in half. What about you Rohrs?”

That opened up McIlroy to deliver a good-natured gut punch. “No,” he said, “I didn’t think Jimmy was that strong.”

Walker handled his gaffe as well as he could, chuckling as he stood with shaft in one hand and putter head in the other. At the time, he had reason to be on edge. The 45-year-old, who hasn’t won since the PGA and has limited status this season, was five over for the tournament at the time and heading toward missing the cut in only his second start of the season.

To the disappointment of Golf Channel viewers, the crew didn’t go back to check in on Walker on his comeback putt at the eighth or the rest of his round. What we do know is that because of a rule change instituted in 2019, players are able to compete with damaged equipment or repair it during. round—even if they’ve busted it in anger. However, it should be noted that a club cannot be replaced in a round if it's damaged in a fit.

We didn’t see how Walker remedied his situation, but what we do know is that he probably got the putter back together, because he made a 16-foot birdie on the par-4 ninth.

That's quite the bounce back, though Walker may never completely get off the canvas from Rory's jab.