Several SC players look for chance to shine in home state
Miguel Angel Jimenez hits a shot at The Ocean Course on Monday. (Source: Alex Kreitman / Live 5 News)
The majority of the players competing in this week's PGA Championshp at The Ocean Course have been committed for a while now, but the field wasn't completely set until Sunday night, Keegan Bradley's win at the Bridgestone Invitational opened up a spot for a wild card, which went to Wofford College alum and Boiling Springs resident William McGirt.
McGirt was not in the original field for this week's PGA championship, in fact, he was an alternate. But thanks to how things went in the Bridgestone Invitational, rankings changed and he was happy to make the last minute travel plans.
Now the Upstate native is playing in his first ever major, in his home state.
The 200th ranked player in the world has to be pinching himself. He is going to play for the Wanamaker trophy after spending several years on mini-tours and playing for small change.
The 33 year old will have to wait little longer the rest of the field to tee off in the first round. He is in the last group going off No. 1 at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
FAN FAVORITE: Also arriving at the course today was fan favorite Miguel Angel Jimenez. Before he started his practice round, he displayed some of his world famous stretching. he also was seen puffing a cigar during his round. Jimenez is still searching for his first major championship. His best finish at the PGA Championship came in 1999 when he tied for 10th.
HOT, HOT, HOT: Aside from dealing with the problems the actual course will provide for the players, they also have to deal with the heat. Tiger Woods was drenched during his practice round Monday and that was early in the morning.
The heat is just another obstacle all the players will have to work around. Some are finding it a little more difficult than others.
RESPECT THIS: Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey is another fan favorite in the state. Not just because he's from South Carolina, but because he's a self-made man in this sport.
"I went to a technical school in Camden and worked as a cart attendant at Dunes West in Mt. Pleasant," he said.
Gainey says he appreciates the opportunity to play in the Palmetto State's first ever major against the strongest field in golf.
SOUTH CAROLINA PLAYERS FAMILIAR WITH KIAWAH: While most of the field is trying to learn as much as they can about The Ocean Course in a short time, there are a few guys who know the course pretty well. That is because they are from South Carolina.
Players like Lucas Glover, Jonathan Byrd and Bill Haas have been playing these courses most of their lives. Things like the humidity and the conditions are things they are used to and the chance to play a huge tournament in their home state is something they're excited about.