JOHNS CREEK, GA. (AP) - Several PGA professionals gathered around the tee on the first hole at Atlanta Athletic Club, breaking into applause when one of their own hit the fairway with his opening tee shot Thursday.
Under a rising sun and cloudless blue sky, Craig Stevens of Dallas teed off in the opening group at No. 1. Stevens was one of 20 club pros in the field for the final major the year. Over at the 10th, Ryan Moore led another threesome beginning its day on the back side.
Minor damage from a mowing accident on the 17th green had been repaired, although the brown edges of the new sod were visible. The PGA of America ruled the damaged area would be treated as ground under repair.
Paul Goydos settled in for what could be a long day, with no guarantee that he would even get to play.
Goydos has been the first alternate since the start of the week, and three days later, nothing had changed.
“I’ve got to stay on the tee,” Goydos said. “There’s like a blue line, and I’ve got to be inside the blue line, standing there like I’m a vulture. I told them they should give me a black hood and a scarlet letter. It’s an uncomfortable position that I earned.”
The PGA Championship has the strongest field in golf, so strong that even the alternates can win, as John Daly did in 1991 at Crooked Stick. Goydos said he was not bothered that 57-year-old Jerry Pate, playing in only his second major in the past 20 years, asked the PGA for a special invitation even though he knows he can’t contend.
“I don’t think he’s taking a spot,” Goydos said. “Arguably, you could say the way I’ve been playing, maybe I’d be taking up a spot. My record in the majors is nothing to write home about.
“For a player to complain, that’s petty at best.”View Entire Story
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