In his morning match against Terell Hatton, Matt Kuchar teed off 0n the 13th hole and attempted to drive the green. The hole is a short par four, 317 yards long with water all the way up the left side and in front of the green. Players will sometimes hit driver in an attempt to clear the water and use the Dell Hospitality tent as a backstop. That leaves them with a short pitch shot that is not to difficult if the pin is in the front of the green, as it was during the morning matches.
A cold front had just blown through. The wind had picked up and switched to the north. So, the 13th hole that had been playing into the wind all week, was now playing downwind.
Kuchar hit his driver slightly to the right of the hospitality tent. It hit a cart path, bounded high over the crowd came to rest in the 15th fairway, 75-80 yards past the 13th green and directly behind the two story Dell hospitality tent that sits behind the 13th green.
Meanwhile, the Stenson-Bjerregaard twosome were playing the 15th hole. That group was standing in the 15th fairway waiting for the green to clear so they could play their second shots. When they figured out what Kuchar was doing in “their” fairway, they were seen laughing at Kuchar’s plight.
There were hundreds of people in the gallery between Kuchar and the 13th green. The Dell hospitality tent was ten yards from the back of the 13th green and the water was just beyond the front of the green. The gallery would have been difficult to move because the fans from Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy match were mixed into the galleries on the 15th hole and there was not a lot of room to spare. Trying to do so would have created a significant delay and disturbance. There was no where for Kuchar to go to get line of sight relief from the corporate tents. So, Kuchar had to play over the gallery and the Dell hospitality tent.
Meanwhile, Kevin Na and Justin Rose were putting out on the 15th green. Kuchar had to wait for them to clear before he could play his second shot because he was only 50 yards from the 15th green and the crowd reaction to his shot would have disturbed the players on the 15th green. So, everything came to a halt until the 15th green cleared. Both Rose and Na had long birdie putts and had to putt twice each, so it took a while.
In the meantime the gallery between Kuchar and the 13th green were yucking it up and saying things like “We are right in his line of flight. I hope he hits a good one and doesn’t skull it. We’d have to duck.” Kuchar was about 20-30 yards from the gallery and aimed right at them.
Some non-golfers who were in the crowd were slightly confused and said “I don’t understand whats happening here. Are you saying he is on the wrong hole and is going to hit his ball over us and that building onto a green? Why that’s crazy.”
To say it was a blind shot is slightly misleading in that he did have a tent to aim at. The shot required that he hit the ball over the tent and onto the green.
Fortunately the north wind provided him with a lot of resistance, making it a fairly straightforward wedge shot if he could judge the distance correctly and use the wind as a backstop so the ball would land softly on the green. He hit it over the tent onto the green about 20 feet away, two putted for par and halved the hole.
In the photo to the left, Kuchar was on the right hand side and playing over the gallery and the tent to the green to the left. All in a day’s work for the PGA professional. Kuchar eventually won the match and is in the semi-final matches.