PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh has issued a statement confirming he has apologised to both Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka after security was “briefly overwhelmed” during Mickelson’s march to an historic sixth Major title on Sunday.
Both players were mobbed by boisterous spectators looking to get as close as they could to 50-year old Mickelson who became the oldest Major champion in the history of golf. And close they did get as fans swarmed the inside of the ropes with both Mickelson and Koepka momentarily disappearing in a sea of frenzied golf fanatics.
“While we welcome enthusiastic fan engagement, we regret that a moment of high elation and pent-up emotion by spectators… briefly overwhelmed security and made two players and their caddies feel vulnerable,” Waugh said in a statement.
Koepka was particularly critical of the fairway invasion down the 72nd hole, claiming his knee was “dinged up” multiple times by fans getting far too close to the four-time Major winner.
“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s***,” said Koepka. “It’s cool for Phil, but getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.
“I don’t think anybody really understands until actually you’re coming out of surgery how… I mean, even when I was doing rehab and there’s five people kind of standing by your knee, you get a little skittish.”
It led one journalist to ask if the four-time Major felt his knee had been purposely targeted by a supporter on 18.
“I don’t know, it got bumped a few times. Somebody jammed Ricky, Ricky stopped unintentionally because he got drilled in the face, and then I got drilled in the bag because he got stopped so quickly. But I don’t know what someone tried to or what, I don’t know what the deal was. There were so many people around,” Koepka said.
Although the crowd had gathered en masse to root for Mickelson on ‘Lefty’s’ march to a sixth Major win, even Phil ‘the thrill’ admitted he wasn’t wholly comfortable with how things got out of hand.
“It was slightly unnerving, but exceptionally awesome,” Mickelson said with a crooked smile but given Koepka’s reaction, Waugh insisted that the scenes were unsavoury at best.
“We always put player safety at the top of our list and are grateful that order was restored,” he said. “I have spoken to both players and apologised on behalf of the association.”