PGA Championship 2017 Diary: Michael Phelps comes to support Jordan Spieth; Brooks Koepka ‘beans’ a marshal

Olympic swimming superstar Michael Phelps was at Quail Hollow on Thursday and he was following Jordan Spieth, who was quite pleased with that. Spieth said, “It was great. He has followed quite a few rounds. He's become a good friend and mentor. It's pretty awesome to have a mentor like that. He texted (me) earlier in the week. I think he was here for an outing and said he was going out to be out following today.”

Earlier on Tuesday, 23-year-old pop star Justin Bieber was spotted at the course.

Phelps, 32, holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals with 23. He was in news in July during a simulated race with a computer-generated shark on the Discovery Channel. For the record, Phelps lost the race.

File image of Jordan Spieth. Reuters

File image of Jordan Spieth. Reuters

Brooks Koepka drills a marshal

Brooks Koepka ‘beaned’ a marshal on the 16th during his first round. Starting from the tenth, Koepka drilled a shot into the official, who was stunned by that hit. Luckily for the marshal and Koepka, the official got up and said he was fine and went home after a check-up.

When asked about the incident, Koepka said, “Yeah, he was fine. Well, I shouldn't say fine. He just got drilled in the head. I felt terrible about it. I mean, that's never fun to walk up and see somebody, you just drilled them. I drilled him in the head, which is probably the worst part. To be honest with you, I felt like crap.

“He (the marshal) was laughing and joking when I was up there, kept telling me, 'You got a good break.' I was like, well, still feel like crap. But yeah, I got his information, so I'll probably reach out to him tonight and see how he's doing. I'm sure he's going to have quite a big headache.”

Koepka apologised in person and gave him an autographed glove.

Jobs and not golf is the focus of North Carolina governor

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper was among those who dropped in at Quail Hollow on the first day of the PGA Championship. But Cooper made it clear that more than catching some action, he was more focused on pitching the state to prospective businesses.

“I’m going to be talking to business most of the day,” Cooper told reporters at the Quail Hollow Club course. “Hopefully, I’ll get to stand out and watch some holes.”

What’s in a name? Jacob or Thorbjørn?

Thorbjørn Olesen was the morning leader with four-under 67 in the first round. While everyone calls him ‘Thorbjørn’ it is actually not his first name. It is his middle name and the one which is used all over the golfing world. Well, by everyone except his mom, who calls him by his proper first name, Jacob. So, How did that happen?

Olesen explained, “I don't think I really decided it myself to be honest. In school, when I started in school, there was (sic) three Jacobs and so everybody called me Thorbjørn and then it just hanged on from there. I thought, why not, I'll still use it as a professional golfer. I think it's only really my mom that calls me Jacob. Yeah, everybody else calls me Thorbjørn.”

Big leap forward for Grayson Murray

Over the last two weeks, while the big boys were at the British Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, players like Grayson Murray and Chris Stroud were just trying to ensure they had a job for 2018 – that is making the PGA Tour card.

While Spieth was adding to his Major collection at Birkdale, Murray was at the Barbasol Championship. From being conditional on he was now on PGA and then suddenly won the Barbasol to get into the PGA. Murray, 23, said, “My last two years, year-and-a-half has gone by fast. Went from conditional status on the to turning that into two top-10s and getting through the shuffle last year and then turning that into the top 25 Money List finish. Then I won the finals event. So I got fully exempt this year, which is great.”

Chris Stroud replying to 1,400 texts, 55 voicemails and 100 emails

Chris Stroud was not even supposed to be here. And guess what, following his win at Barracuda he had 1,400 text messages, 55 voicemails and about 100 emails. “I have replied to every single one of them,” Stroud said. “I’m a big believer in that. I told a few guys after golf is gone and done for me, all you have left is people and the relationships you have. I care more about people than I do about my golf.”

After playing six staright events on Tour, Stroud was planning to head home to Houston this week. But his win at Barracuda, held opposite WGC-Bridgestone, got him into this week’s major at Quail Hollow. Stroud drove two hours to Sacramento, hopped on a plane to Charlotte on Monday and now he’s playing a seventh straight event – and sitting pretty after an opening bogey free three-under 68 at Quail Hollow.

So, what’s his secret? “But the truth is my caddie, any time I start talking about golf, he says, ‘No, no, we’re not going to talk about golf. Stay distracted.’ I have used so little energy out there, it’s incredible.” Stroud and his caddie have talked about a variety of subjects, from science and spirituality to the Houston Texans and Houston Astros. Anything to get his mind off golf, which might come in handy should Stroud once again find himself in the mix on a Sunday.

Updated Date: Aug 11, 2017 21:05 PM

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