It may be the dominant personality this week. Intermittent downpours have softened the course and more are expected Wednesday with a 70 percent chance of storms.
There’s a 60 percent chance of rain for Thursday’s first round with winds 10 to 15 mph and gusting to 20. By Friday, the rain chance diminishes but the long-range forecast is for 15- to 20-mph winds with gusts to 30.
A different world
When Pinehurst Resort teaching pro Kelly Mitchum played the Ocean Course in the Carolinas PGA section championship last fall, he didn’t have Adam Scott hitting practice balls beside him and Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, watching him hit tee shots on the seaside range like he did Tuesday morning.
That’s just one thing that makes Mitchum’s appearance in the PGA Championship this week something different.
In a normal week, he said he’d probably be working with a student instead of dodging rain showers to polish his game in advance of the Thursday start at the Ocean Course.
“I’m excited and nervous. This is not my normal routine,” Mitchum said. “It’s a very difficult golf course but it’s cool being out here with the best players in the world.”
Mitchell played a practice round Monday and when he got a look at where the tees are going to be set for the championship, he knew he wasn’t playing the section championship anymore.
“We played it at 6,800 yards last fall and it was a wonderful course from there,” he said. “But 7,600 is a little different.
“Because it’s rained so much, it’s not playing firm and fast. I need firm and fast. I’ve used my hybrid more this week than I’ve used it in three years.”
“Try not to get too wrapped up in what’s going on and just have a good time,” he said.
The adoption of son Caleb became official Monday for Bubba Watson and his wife, Angie, a former player for the WNBA Charlotte Sting. The process began this year and the Watsons couldn’t take their new son out of Florida for a time, which affected the Masters champion’s schedule.
“I missed some tournaments this year because I’ve had court things I had to do, some law stuff I had to do,” Watson said. “I just had to take care of some stuff like that and be there for my wife when she said she wishes I was home.
“So, I chose to do all those things, and then golf, obviously, is way down the list of priorities. That came first. A lot of people go through it … but somehow it all worked out and now we’re parents, I guess.”
• So much for firm and fast. Even on sandy soil, there’s been so much rain on the Ocean Course the past few days, bump-and-run shots are effectively eliminated. Too bad.
The Ocean Course is most interesting when the ball runs. The good news is with paspalum grass throughout, there’s not much concern about picking up mud on golf balls.
• Each tournament site has its own challenges but the Ocean Course is tough logistically. It’s about a 75-minute commute from downtown Charleston and fans are parking just outside the resort gates. Once on the island, it’s about a 20-minute ride to the course, perched on the north end. The views and the houses, however, are spectacular.
• Robert Karlsson says he’s feeling better about his game. He withdrew from the British Open after struggling in a practice round there, citing issues with his pre-shot routine. It’s a curious reason to withdraw but Karlsson suggested the issue is behind him.
• So there’s no confusion, all sandy areas at the Ocean Course – and there are acres of them – will be played as natural areas, allowing players to ground their club before shots and take practice swings.
It also eliminates any potential violations like the one that cost Dustin Johnson a spot in a playoff at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
“We think it’s the fairest and the best way to play,” said Kerry Haigh, managing director of championships for the PGA. “It’s certainly a unique golf course, which warrants this.”
• Tough to argue with the quality of the field this week. The top 103 players in the official rankings are playing the PGA Championship.
No. 104, Andres Romero, didn’t make it.