PGA Championship crowds began to grow restless and security struggled to keep them back from Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka toward the end of the competition over the weekend.
It became a major concern toward the 18th hole as Mickelson and Koepka were both surrounded by fans as security became overwhelmed by the crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of Mickelson making history as the oldest PGA Champion.
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh apologized in a tweet Monday for the lapse of security, noting that he apologized personally to both Mickelson and Koepka for the crowds.
“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. 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,” Waugh said in the statement.
According to a report from ESPN, Koepka said crowds hit his injured right knee despite his best efforts to protect himself as he tried to finish the final round. Mickelson called the crowd “unnerving” and later noted on Twitter that he had to do some shoving to give himself space.
The crowd at the PGA Championship was capped at 10,000 spectators per day, according to ESPN, but the report said that after COVID restrictions in South Carolina and across the U.S. had been lifted, crowds in the thousands surrounded the 18th.
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