Wind blows away some of the best at Kiawah

Four players from the last U.S. Ryder Cup team. Nine players

from the top 50 in the world ranking.

They were among 41 players who couldn’t break 80 on Friday at

the PGA Championship.

The wind arrived on The Ocean Course and blew away some of the

best players in the world, along with the club pros. Doug Wade of

Dayton, Ohio, made bogey on his last hole for a 93, one short of

the worst score in PGA Championship history. The record was in

jeopardy late in the second round with Michael Frye at 19 over with

four holes remaining. He finished par-birdie-par on a tough stretch

of the front nine for a 90.

There was nothing to be ashamed of on this day, not in these

conditions.

”This wasn’t your normal day of golf,” Rickie Fowler said

after an 80.

It was the third time in his last 15 rounds that Fowler had a

round in the 80s, only this one was different. He felt as though he

played pretty well, except for a bad swing that led to double bogey

on No. 6, and a drop-kick drive into a hazard and two chips up the

slope on the seventh green for a triple bogey.

Give him pars on those holes and he would have had a 75, which

Adam Scott felt was par for the course.

Scott shot 75. He was happy with that.

”It’s very tough,” Scott said. ”I think I played pretty well.

I mean, I could have saved a couple shots, maybe. But it’s very

easy to let shots slip on this golf course. So I consider 75 kind

of a par round of golf out there today. I did a lot of good

things.”

The scoring average was over 78, the highest in PGA Championship

history for any round since it moved away from match play in 1958.

There were only four rounds under par on Friday – Vijay Singh at

69, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter each at 71. That

was the fewest in the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship

since there were only three in 1980 at Oak Hill.

The numbers spoke volumes. So did the scenery.

Flags were rippling when players arrived just after dawn to

start warming up, and it never stopped. The 447-yard 10th hole was

a driver and a 9-iron for the big hitters, if they caught the mound

and got extra roll down the hill. Phil Mickelson didn’t come close

to those mounds. And he hit a 4-iron, one of the prettiest shots of

the day that covered the back left flag and landed 2 feet away.

All day, it never stopped.

The greens are elevated, so the ball has to be played in the

air. And the wind, gusting to 30 mph, came out of the southeast to

create a crosswind on virtually every hole. Even holes with the

wind at the back made it tough to play because the shots didn’t

stay on the green. Matt Kuchar found that out on the par-3 14th. He

had about 210 yards to a ridge in the middle of the green, and it

landed on that ridge and rolled another 25 paces off the back of

the green.

Kuchar, who won The Players Championship in May, shot an 82.

Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan were hopeful of making the Ryder

Cup team this week – the PGA Championship is the final qualifying

event and offers double points. Both shot an 80 and will have to

rely on being a captain’s pick in three weeks.

Jeff Overton was on the Ryder Cup team with them in Wales in

2010. He shot 81. Nick Watney had an 82.

It was a long list. It was a long day.

”Well, it wasn’t stress-free, I can tell you that,” said

Padraig Harrington, an Irishman who knows a little about the wind.

He didn’t think it was all that bad, although there was that moment

on the 188-yard fifth hole when a squall came in and wreaked havoc

on his group.

Davis Love III hit 3-iron that came up some 30 yards short of

the green. Mickelson hammered a 4-iron. He said if he had the same

shot 10 minutes earlier, it would have been a 6-iron. Harrington

wasn’t sure what to do. His caddie suggested a 5-wood.

”My pride wouldn’t let me,” Harrington said.

Singh wasn’t thinking about a score. He was thinking

survival.

”If you had a golf course like this and you asked me to go and

play golf in windy conditions, I’d say, `No, I’m not going to

play.’ I guess nobody is going to go out and play in conditions

like this,” he said. ”But it’s a major, and we have to go out

there and just struggle and manage yourself the best you can.”

He managed just fine. Others? Not so much.

There were 45 rounds under par after the opening round, when

half the field played in relatively calm conditions. At the end of

the second round, there were only 10.

”It was a tough set-up on a calm day, and with a 30

mile-an-hour wind across this course, you’ve got a serious test of

golf on your hands,” said Graeme McDowell, who had a 76. ”A 75 of

below is a decent score out there. I really believe that. Vijay’s

69, that’s a serious score. That’s a serious score.”