by G. Rennie
Before I start I want to ask a question: If Carl Pettersson is an American citizen why is he always referred to as a Swede and why is a symbol of a Swedish flag always placed next to his name on those TV and Web based leader boards?
Regardless, he humped his lumpy body around the hot and humid non-links links course that is the Ocean Course like a born southerner and turned in a very unusual par scorecard.
On a course covered with hazards masquerading as “sandy areas” players were able to ground their clubs on terrain that, in any other tournament played on the tour this year, would result in a penalty stroke. So it’s a great irony that the only dry land hazard I saw any player in all week was the one Pettersson landed in with his drive off #1 tee.
Carl has that lazy fade swing that got a bit too fatigued to start the fourth round today and the lie and ensuing swing ended up costing him a two stroke penalty and probably a second place finish on his own instead of the tie third he shared with three other players. Slow motion video showed that a leaf was disturbed during Pettersson’s backswing and that’s against the rules. If it had moved on his downswing it would have been fine, no penalty, no disruption to his rhythm and mindset, and no added obstacles to overcome.
I can’t really say that the delayed assessment of that penalty cost Pettersson the championship because nobody but nobody was ever going to best Rory McIroy today. But it ended up costing him second place, for sure and beaucoup d’argent. One thing he didn’t lose out on we’re Ryder Cup points. That’s because he’s not eligible for the European team since he’s not a member of the European tour and not because Sweden has been kicked out of Europe. I bet that Mr. Grady and Mr. Olazabal would have discovered some overlooked eligibility criterion if Carl had pulled out a win. But that’s another story which will go untold now.
Another question: Is there any PGA Tour player with five wins that is more under the radar than Carl Pettersson? I don’t think so. Five tour wins is something special, more than Bubba, or Hunter, or Rickie, or Webbie, all of whom will likely be on the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Why is Carl so unrecognized? Probably because he looks more like an everyday Joe public course 10 handicapper than the made from one mold flatbellies that mostly populate the Tour these days. In fact, he looks a lot like my brother with one Big difference: Carl waves that long wand while my round belly bro is pure with his regulation Nike Method flat stick.
But that’s what makes Carl Pettersson so appealing to golf fans like me. He’s got an unimposing physique and an easy way. Yet don’t let that laid back demeanor fool you about his competitive chops. Once he was notified of the two stroke penalty by the roving PGA official he ripped off three consecutive birdies on holes 3,4 and 5. He added another front side bird but went zip on the back side with two bogeys thrown in. Routine Par 72.
So Carl has good reason to maybe think about what might have been but I bet he won’t. I bet he’s headed out for some barbeque and some buds. Just a regular guy.