Eventful round for Jon Rahm and caddie Adam Hayes has duo in PGA Championship mix

Jon Rahm, Adam Hayes
Jon Rahm (right) stands next to caddie Adam Hayes (left) on the eighth tee box during the Wednesday practice round of the PGA Championship. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS – Jon Rahm’s second round at the 100th PGA Championship started when he hit a spectator with his opening drive and ended when he took a one-shot penalty for stepping on his ball in the rough at the eighth hole.

Despite the mishaps, Rahm shot a 3-under 67 Friday to remain in contention at the halfway point. He was tied for eighth, five shots behind leader Gary Woodland, when his round ended early on Friday.

His caddie, Adam Hayes, didn’t just carry Rahm’s clubs around Bellerive Country Club; he also had to double as a part-time psychologist and motivational speaker.

MORE: Photos from Bellerive | Caddie Correspondent Kenny Harms checks in

That’s especially true when working for the emotional, 23-year-old Spaniard.

It’s never a good sign when your first shot draws blood from a spectator, even if the ball ricocheted toward the fairway instead of disappearing into the trees.

“He was bleeding, but they had him wrapped up and he was conscious,” Hayes said of the fan. “Jon went over with a signed a glove for him and made sure he was OK.

“I just told Jon, ‘Hey, it’s golf. It’s part of the risk they take when they come out to watch golf. It can happen to anybody. Let’s just take care of our business.’”

Rahm did, saving par on the first hole. The spectator, Donald Hayden, was taken away by paramedics for precautionary measures.

Jon Rahm, Adam Hayes
Golf fan Donald Hayden (left) is checked on after being hit by a ball from Jon Rahm (right) on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rahm wasn’t the first person to hit a spectator at a major championship at Bellerive. In a playoff to decide the 1965 U.S. Open between Kel Nagle and Gary Player, Nagle’s drive on the fifth hole struck a woman, Alma Pearson of Milwaukee, in the head.

Pearson was knocked unconscious. When Nagle reached Pearson, he was visibly upset at what happened.

While Pearson recovered, Nagle did not during the playoff. He fell five shots behind Player after eight holes and eventually lost 74-71, enabling Gary Player to complete the career Grand Slam.

“It really shook him up and he bogeyed the next two holes,” said Jerry Tucker, the former head pro at Bellerive who grew up in St. Louis and was watching the U.S. Open on its first-ever color telecast. “That really helped Gary win.”

Rahm wasn’t as fortunate at the par-5 eighth hole. He pulled his drive into the left rough. Problem was, none of the marshals had placed a yellow flag near the ball, as is customary.

“I asked, ‘Where’s the ball?’” Hayes said. “At that moment, Jon stepped on it. The marshals should have said, ‘Hey, it’s in that general area. Be careful.’ But Sergio (Garcia) had just broken a sprinkler head and the marshals were all talking about that.

“At the end of the day, we’re grown men and we’re responsible for it. We’re not going to blame the marshals.”

Hayes said Rahm wasn’t sure if he had moved the ball, which would violate a rule of golf, instead of touching it. But he advised his boss to call in a rules official.

“It was close enough where you’re better off taking a penalty in a situation where there is a gray area,” Hayes said. “You don’t want people thinking you’re trying to stretch the rules of golf.

“I’m a big believer in karma. If you do the right thing, good things happen. He hit a beautiful wedge, made par and didn’t lose anything.”

Of course, the long-hitting Rahm missed out on an opportunity to birdie one of the two par 5s at Bellerive.

It was just another five hours in the life of a caddie. They do more than lug clubs and give yardages.

“It was an eventful round,” Hayes said, “but they all are eventful.”

COMMENTS

  1. My husband was the one hit by the ball. He is doing good. He appreciated Jon going over and checking on him.

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