|Players are allowed relief on the 14th and 17th greens after a mower damages the grass. (AP)|
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- The Highlands Course was exquisite.
Except for those two ugly spots on the 14th and 17th greens.
The grounds crew at Atlanta Athletic Club had to do a quick patch job after a baffling mower mishap took a chunk out of the greens on the eve of the PGA Championship.
"We felt like our hearts had been ripped out," head groundskeeper Ken Mangum said Thursday. "Something occurred that I've never seen before."
|PGA Championship: Round 1|
Mangum said there were no mechanical failures on the mowers, and the operators didn't do anything wrong. He could only speculate that a sudden rise in the dew point caused the brushes on the movers to stick in the grass for some reason.
"It's a little like cutting yourself with a razor on your wedding day," Mangum said.
Sod was brought in to cover the damaged areas, both located on the edge of the greens.
The PGA of America allowed the affected areas to be treated as ground under repair, so the players could move their ball if it landed there or they have to putt through it.
Mangum said the greens would be trimmed with hand mowers the rest of the week to ensure they stayed as slick as planned.
"We are trying to manage the green speed to a good championship speed, and that does require mowing and mowing multiple times sometimes," Mangum said. "But we're very proud of the way the golf course is."
Except for those two ugly spots.