PITTSFORD, NY – During the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and three or four other golfers roamed the lofty grounds of Oak Hill Country Club for a while in their caps up backwards.
“It makes me feel cool,” Rose said. “Young. Hip.”
The attire at Saturday’s 105th game of the PGA Championship didn’t revolutionize relaxed golf mores. While it’s also true that the rolled back caps – not the norm in professional golf – didn’t bring any penalties, yells or disqualifications either, so perhaps a welcome informality is brewing in golf after all.
The world’s best golfers were experimenting with the best use of their hats because of a relentless, driving downpour that battered the Oak Hill Country Club all day.
So, Rose, 42, did not try to recreate his image. That was him joking. He wore his cap backwards because he was drenched in the rain and when he bent his head down to hit the golf ball, drops of water dripped, drops, drops past his eyes and onto his ball.
“It actually put me off a little bit,” Rose said. “And at the top of my backswing, a few drops fell down and it distracted me. I thought, This is annoying me, so let’s turn it around.
McIlroy offered the same explanation, though he and Rose both admitted they had never worn their hats backwards at a major golf championship before.
It’s a well-known remedy for sloppy, rainy days, one regularly seen during inclement weather on municipal golf courses, but its appearance was a bit jarring when it was showcased by the world’s top golfers.
And in case you were wondering, a spokeswoman for the PGA of America, which hosts the PGA Championship, confirmed that there is a dress code for players, but apparently wearing your cap backwards isn’t against the code because none golfer was penalized or pulled out. the course.
In fact, Rose, Scheffler, McIlroy and Justin Suh, who was also a retarded hat rebel, were all in the top 10 going into Sunday’s final round, so maybe they knew something most other golfers didn’t.
The drenched hat brigade was the most obvious example of the many adjustments all golfers had to make in the field due to Saturday’s downpour.
The rough weather also highlighted the role of the relationship between players and their caddies. Nothing is more complicated than the umbrella handover between players and caddies that happens thousands of times – almost always in the same order – during a rainy round. It is comical or the height of efficient, unspoken coordination.
Usually on the fairway, in full view of the gallery of fans, it goes like this:
The player holds an umbrella over his head and over his bag as the caddy marches around in the pouring rain to calculate the distance of the player’s next shot to the green. When the caddy returns, the player hands him the umbrella and chooses a club from the bag. The caddy dries the grip of the club with a towel hanging from the inside of the umbrella’s spokes. When the player walks up the fairway to his ball, the caddy holds the umbrella over the player’s head, but not his own head. This player’s protection is provided until just seconds before he begins his swing at the ball. That’s when the caddy steps aside. At that point, the caddy makes sure to hold the umbrella over the player’s golf bag, as keeping the bag dry is more important than keeping the caddy dry.
Once the ball is hit, the player hands over his club to the caddy and the caddy hands over the umbrella. The player goes to his ball and allows the caddy to run unprotected behind him in the rain.
Or as Jon Rahm, the world’s top-ranked golfer, said on Saturday, “I can just grab the umbrella and go. He sacrifices.”
But Rahm appreciates his caddy, Adam Hayes, and knows what he’s going through.
“There was about two inches of water in the bottom of the bag today,” he said. “And his clothes were soaked. He now has to carry about 35 pounds of water. His work is extra important on a rainy day.”
Stephan Jaeger, whose golf bag held seven towels and other gear to get through a nearly five-hour round in the rain, said he thought his bag weighed 70 pounds on Saturday. The whole experience – the constant umbrella change, wiping the rain off the brim of his cap, trying to determine how many yards the wet grass would obstruct a shot – had left Jaeger, who finished in tenth place, exhausted.
“It takes a lot of effort,” he said minutes after walking off the golf course. “I think I’m going to feel it when I sit down and calm down. I think the adrenaline will drop a bit and I’ll get pretty tired. It’s a lot to think about, a lot to think about.”
Jaeger was asked if he had ever practiced in the rain between tournaments to get used to the experience.
Jaeger immediately replied, “No.”