KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — I don’t hate to say it, but I told you so.
If you check my pre-PGA Championship preview with a potpourri of observations about what was to come, I pretty much nailed it. To all those who e-mailed and Tweeted to bash me for negative predictions, what can I tell you? The truth is my defense.
Let's re-cap. I dubbed it The Pour By the Shore. It rained every night and sometimes in the day, and the local newspaper used that phrase later in the week as the day's main headline. I suggested bringing rain gear and being prepared to evacuate. That was necessary Saturday when the third round ended with the leaders on the eighth green. Of course, evacuating was a little difficult with 27,000 people and only a handful of shuttle buses.
And what if one of those rogue storms cells had drifted a little farther off-line on Sunday? Missing a Monday finish was about the only bullet this event dodged all week.
I said there would be ample time wasted on long shuttle bus rides. Nailed that, too. My Golf.com colleague David Dusek began reading Moby Dick on the bus from the media hotel to the course. He finished it by Friday. Some of our one-way travel times for the 18-mile drive reached two and a half hours.
It was far worse for the fans. They got stuck in traffic getting to the parking lot on the island and then had wait in line for buses to the course. You had to really want to watch golf to get to the Ocean Course, and it seemed like progressively fewer showed up as the week went on. On Saturday, even Tiger Woods didn't have anything like the gallery he had on Thursday. Fans paid good money for tickets and another $20 to park each day. They deserved better.
The traffic was the worst I've seen at a major since the 1984 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where a number of players abandoned their cars and made a run for the course with their clubs slung over their shoulders. This traffic failure seemed to be based on Kiawah officials' desire to collect $20 a day in parking for thousands of cars that should've been parked on the mainland, where the other shuttles ran.
Did I mention that the golf course is awkward, and that the PGA field, which includes 20 club pros, is not the strongest in major championship golf, as some have claimed? Throw in strong winds that made the course nearly unplayable on Friday, and you have a recipe for outrageously high scores. Two club pros failed to break 90. It wasn't their fault; it was the course's. The second-round scoring average was the highest in PGA Championship history, by a mile. That's not a badge of honor, it's a red flag.
What else? Oh right, I picked Rory McIlroy to win because the course was long and soft and a bomber's paradise after the nightly rains. He won by eight. Having a great champion like McIlroy helped gloss over a lot of issues. In fact, Rory's win was the best thing that could've happened to this PGA.
For the pre-tournament forecast, I'll give myself an A. It probably ought to be an A+, but I'm not greedy, unlike a certain group of car-parking charlatans.