By Doug Ferguson
PITTSFORD, N.Y.: Jeff Overton ended up being first alternate at the PGA Championship. It was the first time since 2008 that he did not play in the final major of the year, and based on a series of tweets early Saturday morning, he wasn’t happy about it.
One tweet mentioned the PGA Championship had two sponsors’ invitations. “Who did you give your invites to? Not the guy that helped make you 50 million in Wales,” he tweeted.
He followed that with two more shots at the PGA of America.
• “#PGAChampionship I’m just saying. Ill play ur political picks whenever for whatever.”
• “So. In other words u help make a corporation 50 to 100 million dollars. 3 years later they put u on a chair n treat u like a piece of ...”
Overton eventually deleted the series of tweets.
He played in the Ryder Cup in 2010 at Wales — he remains the only American to play in the Ryder Cup who has never won on the PGA Tour — and won two matches. Overton received recognition that week for holing out from the fairway and excitedly screaming, “Boom, baby!”
But in lowering the boom on the PGA of America, Overton didn’t seem to look at his own performance. Not only has he never won on the tour, he has plunged to No. 151 in the world. He is outside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings. He has one top-10 finish this year and has finished outside the top 25 in all the rest.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the notion that he helped the PGA of America make $50 million from the 2010 Ryder Cup.
For one thing, Ryder Cup revenue goes to the host organizer — that would be the European Tour and PGAs in Europe for 2010 in Wales.
Overton also was wrong in saying the PGA of America had two sponsor invitations. By its own criteria, the PGA awarded 42 exemptions. Most of those go to players inside the top 100 in the world, because the PGA Championship wants the strongest field of any major.
The PGA wound up taking nine players outside the top 100. Only one of them, Ryo Ishikawa at No. 163, has a lower ranking than Overton.
He also took a shot at the PGA Tour for getting disqualified in the third round at the Colonial. Because of a backlog at the turn, Overton was told he was allowed to use the practice green during the wait. He violated the Rules of Golf, however, by using a putting aid in the middle of a round and was disqualified. Overton did not know the rule.
If he had not used the putting aid, he might have earned enough money to qualify for the PGA Championship.
“Our tour official tells u to do something. That gets us a dq which keeps from the PGA championship on ur favorite course,” he tweeted.
Overton later tweeted he was going to play Liberty National this weekend, site of the opening FedEx Cup playoff event. Perhaps he might run into Jim Colbert, the former PGA Tour player famous for listening to players complain and giving them advice that still stands: “Play better.”
15th hole location
The people have spoken. They want to see the flag on the 181-yard 15th hole at Oak Hill next to the water.
The PGA Championship tried to get fans involved this year by allowing them to choose the hole location on the 15th hole for the final round.
They were given four choices, with Jack Nicklaus providing input on the differences in strategy of the four choices.
The PGA of America said more than 92,000 votes were cast on its website, Facebook and Twitter over the last 19 days.
The winner was “Hole Location C,” which will be 25 yards on and 4 yards from the water on the right.
Nicklaus, who won the PGA at Oak Hill in 1980, approved of the selection. In fact, he went online and voted for “C” himself.
“Now, if I was in the field, I would look at a hole location like Option C and think, ‘No, no, no.’ I would likely stay away from going at that,” Nicklaus said.
“Because Option C is the closest to the water, it’s probably the most dangerous of the hole locations, especially if a player is trying to get it close. But that hole also gives a player an option if he wants to play conservatively, because there is plenty of room short left.”