PGA Tour officials today vowed to get to the bottom of why thousands of golf fans were able to storm the 18th green at the PGA Championship on Sunday, and whether Phil Mickelson played any role in the melee that ensued after he hit his final approach to that green.
Moments after Mickelson hit his approach shot to 18, thousands of fans broke through police and security lines and stormed the 18th green. Officials want to determine if the siege was in any way coordinated, and if eventual winner, Phil Mickelson, possibly encouraged the mob’s behavior through his play or his actions.
“All I know is after he hit that approach he started walking toward the green and gave a ‘thumbs up’. That’s when all hell broke loose. You tell me whether or not he was giving the ‘green light’ to the mob to do its thing,” said one anonymous official.
Another avenue of investigation will involve what, if any, role social media played in what seemed to be a highly coordinated siege of the closing hole at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Some have pointed to Saturday night chatter on Reddit and Facebook as proof that the storming of the green was preplanned and highly coordinated.
At this time, authorities are reviewing tape in an effort to identify some of the principal offenders. One individual of interest with whom authorities would like to speak is identified only as Beer Can Hat Dude. He is visible in much of the footage handing out beers, cheering vociferously and inciting the crowd’s raucous behavior.
After the match, Mickelson playing partner, Brooks Koepka, who at one point became engulfed by the frenzied mob, had little positive to say about the chaotic scene on the 18th hole.
“It would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and got dinged a few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a s***, personally,” Koepka said.
Indeed, another avenue of investigation will almost certainly look at why so few in the excited gallery were thinking of Koepka’s knee at the moment a 50-year-old Mickelson was on the verge of golfing history.