Rickie Fowler’s putt was the length of a pencil. Cameron Tringale could’ve used an eraser.
Fowler’s silly mistake — a miss from 6 inches on the sixth green — cost him a weekend starting time at the PGA Championship. Tringale’s error — signing an incorrect scorecard — saved him a couple hours of waiting around before he headed home, as well.
They were among the 77 players to miss the cut at Harding Park, meaning an early departure from San Francisco.
Fowler, frustrated that an on-line par putt got knocked off track by something on the green, pointed at the spot where the putt veered off. He then casually walked up to the ball, which wasn’t more than 6 inches from the cup, and took a stab at it. It barely moved.
“I hit the ball,” he said. “Just not hard enough.” A moment later, he knocked it in for a double-bogey 6.
It was the most painful part of a 1-under 69 that left him at 2 over, which was one shot away from the cut.
Meanwhile, Tringale had signed for a 68 and was eating lunch when he checked his phone to see how his score of 1 over was holding up with the afternoon groups teeing off. He noticed he’d put down a 3 on the par-3 eighth when he had really made a 4. He was really 2 over, which wouldn’t have been good to make the cut anyway. Still, signing for a lower score than you made gets you booted from a tournament, and so, Tringale didn’t have to bother waiting around to see if he was in for the weekend.
“I went back to the scoring area and told them what I noticed,” Tringale told Golf World.
It marked the second time he’s been DQ’d from the PGA; it happened under similar circumstances at Valhalla in 2014, but that time, he reported himself the following week, after realizing he’d signed for the wrong score in the final round.
While Tringale’s gaffe wouldn’t have mattered in this case, Fowler’s certainly did. It marks the first time he’s missed a cut at the PGA since 2012 at Kiawah. He’s now 0 for 41 in majors.
“In a way, it’s a reminder to not take anything for granted,” he said. “It wasn’t like I wasn’t paying attention, anything like that. I can explain it as golf. Unless you play a lot and you’ve been in that situation, you just kind of go blank and you’re going through the motions.”
Others departing include a pair of two-time major winners, Zach Johnson and Martin Kaymer, each of whom spent much of the first round atop the leaderboard. But Johnson needed a 33-footer on No. 18 to stick around and saw it stop 8 inches short. For Kaymer, though, not as much drama. He shot 43 on the front nine en route to an 82.
Others sticking around for the weekend — but just barely — include Phil Mickelson. He made a 20-foot birdie on No. 9, the hardest hole at Harding Park, to make the cut on the number. Patrick Cantlay made a 20-foot birdie on 17 and then went bunker to bunker on the 18th and saved par to finish at 1 over.