There’s something about match play that always seems to bring about drama, and that was certainly the case on Friday in Austin as Kevin Na confronted Dustin Johnson on the 11th green.
Johnson lipped out his birdie putt to win the hole, and following the disappointment, scooped up his ball from inside a foot believing it was good. However, there had been no official concession from Na, who still had inside three feet for his halve on the hole.
This led to Na chasing down DJ at the edge of the green to make his point about Johnson picking up his ball without being told it’s good yet, where the 37-year-old warned the World Number One: “I know it’s this close, but you still have to wait until I say something.”
Kevin Na giving DJ a lesson on scooping a ball before it's officially conceded:
Na: "I know it's this, but you still have to wait until I say something." pic.twitter.com/GVJhXMBMXI
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) March 26, 2021
An already eliminated Na went on to dump DJ out of the event by birdieing the final two holes, which included a fist-pump on 17 followed by his patented early walk on his putt on 18. The fist-bump between the two, it’s worth noting, involved Johnson not looking at Na once.
Following his round, Na elaborated on what had happened on the 11th green:
“He had six inches, and obviously it’s good, but I hadn’t said anything, and he whacked it,” Na said. “And I was like – I froze there and looked at [his caddie] Kenny, and I wasn’t going to say ‘that’s a penalty, you’re going to lose the hole. I was going to say, ‘you know what, that was good anyway.’ I didn’t want to be over that putt and be thinking about that.
So I called him over, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to take the hole from you, but I just want to let you know before I said something you whacked the ball. But I’m going to give that putt to you, so we’ll call it a half and go to the next hole.
That’s what we did. I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want to say — we all know he can make a six-inch putt, so I think I did the right thing.”
Like he said, Na was fully entitled to claim the hole as his win, as Matt Kuchar did following a similar incident against Sergio Garcia back in 2019.
The reaction to the incident was mixed on social media, but Na had his backers amongst his peers on Friday evening, with Jon Rahm telling media on Friday regarding the concession of putts:
“I try to say it loud and clear before they get to the ball. But, you know, even if it’s something that I was going to give to them and they do (what Johnson did), I would just tell them the same thing, ‘Hey, next time just wait for me so you don’t get in trouble.’
If it’s something like that, I would have done exactly the same thing Kevin Na would have done.”
Following his elimination, Johnson declined to comment and will now head to the Valero Texas Open, which he has opted to play following a late entry.
Why Justin Thomas ‘doesn’t really like’ that rangefinders will be used at PGA Championship
For the first time, the PGA Championship will allow players to use rangefinders during tournament play this year, but it’s not a prospect Justin Thomas is excited about.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo, Thomas revealed that he’s unlikely to use one, stating that he doesn’t “really like them” and believes that the technology takes away the importance of caddies.
“I think it takes away an advantage of having a good caddie that maybe goes out there and does the work beforehand as opposed to someone, especially now between the yardage books, the greens books and range finders, you technically don’t even really need to see the place or play a practice round. You can go out there and know exactly what the green does, you know exactly what certain things are on certain angles because you can just shoot it with the range finder.”
PGA of America president Jim Richerson stated earlier this year that he expects the use of rangefinders to improve the pace of play at the event. However, JT doesn’t see that being the case at Kiawah Island later this month.
“I certainly don’t think it’s going to speed pace of play up at all unless you have a scenario where you do hit it on another hole or some kind of crazy angle where it would take you a long time to get a yardage. At the end of the day, Kiawah Island isn’t some kind of course where the greens are going to be really soft and you just see pin, hit pin. It’s going to be, okay, I have 193 hole, we have 174 front, I need to probably land this probably 180 to 182, a little wind off this way.”
The PGA Championship begins on May 20 from Kiawah Island.
Rickie Fowler shares his thoughts on ‘interesting’ Super Golf League
While Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas have ruled themselves out of joining a Saudi backed Super Golf League, others have had their interest piqued and are waiting to hear more details on the proposals.
Phil Mickelson has said that he is intrigued by the idea, and now Rickie Fowler has revealed his interest in the potential breakaway Super Golf League.
“It’s definitely interesting. I think there’s a lot that needs to happen for it to even move forward of any sort, and at the same time I think competition can be a good thing.
I do think that the PGA Tour is the premier place to be playing against the best players in the world. Could it get better? I’m sure this wouldn’t be coming up if someone didn’t think that there were ways that certain things could be better.”
Though PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has threatened that any players committing to a breakaway tour could face expulsion from the PGA Tour, it hasn’t stopped players voicing their interest in the SGL. For Rickie, he’s happy to wait and see what develops.
“For a super golfer league of some sort to move forward, it would definitely need at least a handful of guys to be going that direction, or committed or whatever it may be. I don’t know of anything like that right now.
I can’t say that I’m in, out or whatever. I still think the Tour is the best place to be. We’ll see what happens, but I’m happy where we are.”
Patrick Reed recounts meeting wife Justine after being ghosted by her sister
Patrick Reed and his wife Justine are one of the more prominent couples on the PGA Tour, with his wife previously caddying for her man on the tour.
But the story of how the two met may surprise you, with Reed recounting the interesting story in a recent Q&A with Golf Digest.
It all began with a date with Justine’s sister, which ended abruptly after Patrick found himself quickly ghosted (a personal relationship ended without communication or explanation).
“I was a freshman at the University of Georgia, and her younger sister, Kris, was at LSU. Kris came to visit, and we went on one date, and I texted her to confirm she’d made it back home safe. No response.
So I reached out to Justine on Facebook, who confirmed her sister was back and got frank with me about why it was probably not going to work out. So I start talking with Justine, who I discovered is this incredibly driven person who was pursuing dual degrees while working to become a nurse.
We kept talking as a couple of years went by; then we started dating. Best decision of my life.”
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All is well that ends well for Patrick and Justine, with the two being married since 2012.
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