(Please note language in fifth and seventh pars)
By Andrew Both
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) – Brooks Koepka reacted angrily after being buffeted by spectators when officials lost control of the gallery at the final hole of the PGA Championship on Sunday.
After Koepka and champion Phil Mickelson had played their shots to the final green, hundreds if not thousands of spectators swarmed the fairway in scenes reminiscent of British Opens of a previous era.
Mickelson was shepherded through the heaving masses by a few police and marshals, and soon emerged into a protected area near the green, but it was some time before Koepka emerged to sanctuary.
Koepka, who is recovering from a dislocated kneecap, seems to have been collateral damage, and was left wondering if some of the bumps may even have been deliberate.
“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 shit, personally,” he said.
“If I was fine, yeah, it would have been cool. It’s cool for Phil but getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun.
“I don’t mind waiting or being in that crowd. I don’t know, it felt like somebody tried to, I don’t know what the deal was. Be putting it in ice (tonight). It feels like shit right now.”
Koepka was speaking after finishing equal second with South African Louis Oosthuizen, two strokes behind Mickelson, who at age 50 became the game’s oldest major champion.
Koepka already has four major victories and claiming a fifth on a dodgy knee would have been perhaps the most impressive yet.
But second place hurt, though maybe not as much as his knee.
“It got bumped a few times,” he said.
“Somebody jammed Rickie (caddie Rickie Elliott). Rickie stopped unintentionally because he got drilled in the face, and then I got drilled in the bag because he got stopped so quickly.
“But I don’t know what someone tried to (do) or what the deal was. There were so many people around.”
Mickelson, speaking without apparently being aware of Koepka’s comments, joked of his rival’s slow emergence from the throng.
“I thought he was slow playing me there,” Mickelson said, acknowledging that he too had found the scene a “little unnerving.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Richard Pullin)