PGA Championship First Round News & NotesAug 10, 2012 - 12:32 AM Kiawah Island, SC (Sports Network) - First-round leader Carl Pettersson is a colorful character with a big golf game.
It may surprise the average fan to know that he's won five times on the PGA Tour. Pettersson has been non-existent in the majors however, with only two top 10s.
But Pettersson should be the type to generate huge galleries and Thursday's post-round press conference showcased his personality.
Listed very generously at 195 pounds in this year's PGA Tour media guide, Pettersson is probably closer to that 240-pound mark. A few years back, Pettersson lost almost 30 pounds, but his golf game suffered.
Well, Pettersson used a different word on Thursday.
"That was three, four years ago. I lost some weight, my golf game sucked, and I put the weight back on," he said. "Yeah, that's kind of old news."
With the possibility looming large that golf's governing bodies will outlaw the long putter, which Pettersson has used since his sophomore year of college back in the mid 90s, the big man was pretty clear in his stance.
"I don't see why they should change it," he explained. "I don't like the way they say it's easier to putt with a long putter, an anchored putter. It isn't easier. If it was easier, everybody on tour would use a long putter or a belly putter.
"I think the long putter has been around for 30 years, and I think it would be a shame if they did ban the long putter. If you're going to ban the long putter, you might as well ban the hybrids, the big drivers, the ball that goes 300 miles. I think it falls into the same umbrella as some of the other equipment like hybrids, big-headed drivers. This is the way the game has gone, and it would be a shame."
Pettersson was asked if he could adapt, should those governing bodies ban long putters.
"Would I adapt? Well, I'd have to. I've got a high school diploma. What else am I going to do?"
Pettersson has a big personality, but is caught in a bit of a no-man's land when it comes to the Ryder Cup, which is on everyone's mind this week.
Pettersson was born in Sweden, but moved to the U.S. when he was a junior in high school. He's lived here ever since and became an American citizen this year.
He can't compete on the U.S. team since he wasn't born in the U.S., but he also has trouble making a European team. Pettersson is not a member of the European Tour, which is a criteria for earning points for one of the 10 automatic spots.
Pettersson's only recourse is being a captain's pick. A good week this week might influence European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, although strong picks like Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are close to missing the team on points.
"Hopefully I can play well," said Pettersson. "I've played solid this year, and if I can play well, then the next month or so, who knows, we'll see what happens."
KIAWAH SAND RULES
Before the tournament began, PGA of America officials deemed the bunkers at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island to be "through the green."
Essentially, that means there are no bunkers.
Players can move things in the sand and can even take practice swings.
It impacted some differently than others on Thursday.
"I get into a tournament and here, pull it left on 13," said Tiger Woods, who shot a 3-under 69 in round one. "Pull it left over there and Joey (LaCava) reminds me that you can take a practice swing out of there, because I had not done it in a tournament yet. It felt a little weird to putt my club on the ground."
Others were more concerned about how odd the sight of a practice swing in a bunker would look.
"The first couple bunkers I got in, I just played it like a normal bunker," said Adam Scott, who shot a 68 on Thursday. "But then about the fourth one, I thought, just have a practice swing just to see what it feels like. I think that's the most odd thing I've ever experienced; playing this course, that there's actually not a bunker on it. I took a practice swing and it looks kind of funny and I think the guys in the group were snickering at it, as well."
SPEAKING OF SCOTT
This was Scott's first major championship round since The Open Championship.
On that overcast Sunday afternoon, Scott bogeyed the final four holes and handed The Claret Jug to Ernie Els.
There's two ways a player can respond to a major throw up like Scott's.
The first is to go in a shell and let what happened at Royal Lytham & St. Annes impact him.
The second seems to be what's happening to Scott this week at The Ocean Course.
It's like the Rory McIlroy model.
McIlroy fell apart on the back nine at last year's Masters and no one knew how he'd handle the next major. McIlroy blew through the field, wrote U.S. Open history and no one really remembers that Sunday at Augusta, unless its Masters week.
Scott's first-round 68 shows Scott is ready to put the Open behind him.
"It would be great to put two more rounds together and come here Sunday with a good look at the championship," said Scott. "If I don't, I'll really feel like I let it all slip this year for me."
* Two of Pettersson's last three wins came in the state of South Carolina.
* The eight automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Ryder Cup team will be finalized after the PGA Championship. The eight are Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
* Forecasts call for some possibly bad weather on Friday, including wind gusts up to 30 mph.
* World No. 1 Luke Donald struggled to a 2-over 74.
* Sergio Garcia was penalized a stroke on the 16th hole when his ball moved after he addressed it in the fairway. Garcia shot a 76 on Thursday.
* Alan Morin and Jeff Coston share low club professional honors at 2-over 74.
* Els shot an even-par 72, while Bubba Watson, this year's Masters winner, had a 73 and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson posted a disappointing 7-over 79.
* Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman carded a 6-over 78.
* The hardest hole on Thursday was the par-4 ninth, which played to an average of 4.340.
* The easiest hole was the par-5 second, which played to an average of 4.891.
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