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PGA of America apologizes for security lapse at Kiawah

Crowd on 18th hole of final round at 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course
Where’s Phil? The gallery engulfs eventual winner Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka – trust us ... they're in there – on the final hole Sunday during the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. The PGA of America apologized for the ‘overwhelmed security.’

CEO Seth Waugh acknowledges ‘overwhelmed security’ at PGA Championship after talking with Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka

The PGA of America apologized to Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka, who were swarmed by spectators as they approached the green on the final hole Sunday at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

Mickelson, who was putting the finishing touches on an improbable two-stroke victory three weeks shy of his 51st birthday, was engulfed by the crowd and briefly disappeared among the fans. Police and security personnel were overwhelmed in trying to keep any distance between the players and fans. Mickelson emerged with his traditional thumbs-up signal, indicating that all was well.

Koepka, who would finish in a tie for second place, complained afterward that the crowd jostled him and “dinged” his bothersome right knee.

“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--t,” Koepka said in a quote reported by the New York Post. "Yeah, it’s cool for Phil, but getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun. I was trying to protect my knee.”

Seth Waugh, the PGA’s CEO, issued an apology late Monday night via the PGA’s Twitter account.

“While we welcome enthusiastic fan engagement, we regret that a moment of high elation and pent-up emotion by spectators on the 18th hole of yesterday’s historic PGA Championship briefly overwhelmed security and made two players and their caddies feel vulnerable,” Waugh said in the statement.

“We always put players safety at the top of our list and are grateful that order was restored. I have spoken to both players and apologized on behalf of the association.”

Mickelson called the scene "a little bit unnerving" before he conceded that it was "exceptionally awesome, too."

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