Graeme McDowell has questioned the nature of the Kiawah Island course set-up on a windswept day two of the 94th PGA Championship.
McDowell posted a second round 76 to drop back to level par on the well exposed Ocean Course buffeted non-stop by 30 mph winds.
A day earlier it had been a sunny summer’s day along the shoreline and while it remained sunny, day two was for kite-flying and windsurfing.
Of course, McDowell is used to windy conditions having honed his US Open winning game in even worse weather as Royal Portrush.
But even the greens staff at the famed County Antrim course play fair and situate flagsticks akin to the intended forecast.
However, organisers of the final major of the season were aware of the impending weather conditions and reacted in moving forward the tee off areas forward on two holes, at the 494-yard par four ninth and the 412-yard par four, 12th.
“It’s one of the toughest set-ups I think I’ve seen at a major championship in a long time,” said McDowell.
“They didn’t put the tees very far forward while the pin on 14 and the pin on 17, I’m not sure how you get within 20 feet of those.
It was just about set-up. It was a tough setup 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.
“A score 75 or below is a decent score out there.
“I really believe that. Vijay’s 69, that’s a serious score. That’s a serious score.”
History will now record it is McDowell’s third highest PGA Championship score in 22 rounds of competition and two strokes more than a 78 to miss the cut in last year’s event in Atlanta.
McDowell’s round contained just one birdie, a chip to four feet at the 11th hole of his round and with the birdie sandwiched between five bogeys including one hole where he had to take an unplayable lie. After some lunch, McDowell and his father, Kenny were intending to head back to their hotel and watch the afternoon drama unfold on TV.
“It was a survival test out there and I was very happy to get off that golf course, I have to say,” he said.
“I’m trying to think of the last time I remember a golf course playing this difficult, because it’s a links wind, blowing across a golf course which is super soft, with some of the most difficult pins on the course out there,” he added.
“I also didn’t flight my irons quite as well as I would have liked to coming back into the wind there.
“They were just ballooning on me a hair, something I need to address a little bit.
“And not meaning any disrespect to anyone out there, I need it to play tough this afternoon to keep me in touch.
“If I’m within four or five going into tomorrow, game on, I’m right where I need to be going into another weekend of a major championship.”
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