PGA of America apologizes to Brooks Koepka for scene on 18

May 23, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson checks his notes before putting on the 18th green during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brooks Koepka was validated in his complaints about the mob scene on the 18th green as fans rushed to celebrate with Phil Mickelson on Sunday afternoon.

Mickelson captured the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and fans passed through security and rope lines to surround him as he walked to the green.

Koepka said his surgically repaired knee was bumped and feared the unique scene would turn into something worse. He said his caddy, Ricky Elliott, got “drilled in the face” and wondered how security failed the final pairing.

“While we welcome enthusiastic fan engagement, we regret that a moment of high elation and pent-up emotion by spectators on the 18th hole during the conclusion of yesterday’s historic PGA Championship briefly overwhelmed security and made two players and their caddies feel vulnerable,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said. “We always put player safety at the top of our list and are grateful that order was restored. I have spoken to both players and apologized on behalf of the Association.”

Koepka offered hearty congratulations to Mickelson and said he appreciated being a part of the historic moment despite not claiming the major title.

“Yeah 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 sh-t, personally,” he said. “But if I was fine, yeah, it would have been cool. Yeah, it’s cool for Phil. But getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.

“[I was] trying to protect my knee. I don’t think anybody really understands until you’re coming out of surgery how — even when I was doing rehab and there’s five people kind of standing by your knee, you get a little skittish.”

–Field Level Media

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