Phil Mickelson and playing partner Rickie Fowler let eventual champion Rory McIlroy “hit up” on the final hole of the PGA Championship on Sunday–and fans saw something they never see on the PGA Tour. Like 340-yard drives, plenty of things happen on the the PGA Tour that never happen on golf courses IRL (in real life)–and vice-versa. One of those that never happens on TV is letting players “hit up.” Putting takes a while, so IRL players will mark their balls on the green and let the group behind them hit up to the green–it’s a courtesy that keeps the flow of the round going. But it doesn’t happen in the professional ranks because you’re supposed to be able to finish the hole you started–uninterrupted. Look, it’s a major and you’re playing for over $1 million and the history books.
Mickelson and Fowler both said afterwards that they had no problem with waiting to putt while McIlroy (and his playing partner Bernd Weisberger) hit up. But that simply can’t be true. Sure, they had no daylight left–but Mickelson had to have been furious. He lost by only a stroke. In its rush to crown Rory McIlroy (the new Tiger Woods) and somehow resuscitate a sinking interest in golf, the PGA stepped all over one of its great champions and made a mess of what was otherwise a glorious tournament.