Two storylines shaped the 89th PGA Championship this week: a dominant Tiger Woods and a dominating heat.
Tulsa reached a high of 102 degrees on Sunday, the hottest of the four days, according to Mobile Weather Inc., which provided forecasting services for the tournament. The high on Thursday and Saturday was 101, and on Friday it made it to 100. That’s an average of 101, which beat the previous all-time scorcher — the 1970 PGA, also held at Southern Hills, which averaged 100.3, according to Golf World magazine.
Needless to say, the first aid stations were busy. Very busy. By Sunday morning, about 1,000 fans and even a few golfers and caddies had stopped at a first aid station or had been transported to one. A majority of those had heat-related symptoms, but only about a quarter of those patients had serious problems.
“We’ve started more IVs on people than I would’ve expected,” said Dr. Steven Katsis, this year’s chairman of spectator medical services. “A lot of people we’re seeing are not drinking what they should. They’ve been out here four or five hours and they’ve had one bottle of water, maybe two.”
Statistics weren’t yet available for the number of drinks served at the tournament, but the final tally is sure to be staggering. Last year at the PGA Championship at Medinah, more than 233,000 bottles of water and 183,000 bottles of Pepsi products, including Gatorade, were sold, not including 170,000 cups of beer, according to the PGA.
And the heat in Chicago wasn’t nearly as severe as it has been in Tulsa. About 20 physicians, nurses and paramedics roamed the course this week on bikes and golf carts, with motorized stretchers on call.
“In half a day, one guy moved 60 people just to help them off the course,” Dr. Katsis said.