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.
Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay to caddie at next week’s PGA Championship
Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay will return to looping duties at next week’s PGA Championship after a mix up meant that Max Homa’s caddie would be unavailable.
Speaking on the Get a Grip podcast, Homa explained that his regular caddie Joe Greiner wanted to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay – believing that the event was the week of the Charles Schwab Challenge.
However, after realizing the event was in the middle of this year’s PGA Championship, it left Homa stuck, but Greiner quickly found him a decent replacement in the legendary Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay.
“I’m super, super fortunate. I’ve gotten to know Bones out at Whisper Rock in Arizona and he is truly one of the nicest, greatest people I’ve ever been around.” said Homa on teaming up with Mackay.
Mackay has recently worked for NBC and Golf Channel telecasts since his split with Phil Mickelson. However, he has also worked as a fill-in caddie for Justin Thomas, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jimmy Walker over the past couple of years.
Next week will be the first time Bones has teamed up with Homa, and it’s a prospect that the 30-year-old is relishing.
“I have the utmost respect for Joe’s caddying and I mean this is not a slight at all, so please believe me when I say that … but it’ll be really cool to be around someone like Bones,” said Homa. “Joe has learned his way into this. Not that Bones didn’t, but he’s been doing this forever.”
Smylie Kaufman explains brutal 1-foot miss at Monday Qualifying
We’ve all heard stories about how cutthroat Monday qualifying is each week, but Kaufman’s tale is a real heartbreaker.
Kaufman missed out on a playoff by one stroke, and the crucial one stroke needed to make up the ground was a missed 1-foot putt.
The Alabama native took to Twitter on Tuesday explaining the missed 1-foot putt, which he put down to: “not realizing my ball accumulated so much water and sand” after a rain delay.
Missed a 1 footer on 12 after the rain delay not realizing my ball accumulated so much water and sand. This image can also apply to that moment as well. Miss playoff by 1. #golf https://t.co/Ky4Hk7078p
— Smylie Kaufman (@SmylieKaufman10) May 10, 2021
Golf fans were perplexed by the incident, with many not sure if Kaufman had failed to mark his ball, but it’s more likely that the putt was his second after the restart. Just brutal luck.
The 29-year-olds fall from grace has seen him drop to 1530 in the World Golf Ranking, having made just one cut worldwide since 2019.
Rory McIlroy’s heart rate hit stunning high on 72nd hole at Wells Fargo
PGA Tour professionals are imperious at looking cool under pressure, but in reality, they aren’t immune to high moments of stress.
Thanks to Whoop’s partnership with the PGA Tour, now us mere mortals can all see exactly how the best are feeling.
The most stressful moment for Rory McIlroy at Quail Hollow last week came on the 72nd hole when he hooked his 3-wood off the tee dangerously close to the water.
Per Whoop Live, the Irishman’s BPM (Beats per Minute) spiked to 140 following the tee shot. It settled back to 115 as he addressed his approach to the green but once again rose dramatically following his putt to win, with his BPM hitting a remarkable 151.
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Whoop, the human performance company and 24/7 fitness tracker and health monitor, became the official fitness wearable of the PGA TOUR in January.
Part of this partnership includes Whoop Live, which throughout the season will highlight player biometric data and heart rate during defining moments with real-time metrics integrated into live broadcast and digital content.
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