Jason Kokrak’s final shot from the Travelers Championship was a doozy, leading to a very unusual disqualification from the tournament.
After a 327m drive into the left rough at the ninth hole of TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., his last hole of the day, the burly Kokrak had little to play for and it showed. After opening 3-under 67 on Thursday, he was 4 left on the day – damage from a 5-putt led to one of the two double bogeys on his map – and would need a minor miracle to make the cut.
Yet Kokrak, the 33rd player in the world, was only 43 yards from the hole. His all-or-nothing shot turned out to be a giant dud, flying over the green and down a road. ShotLink measured that it traveled “87 yards into the unknown”.
But instead of going back to the original spot and taking a penalty and finishing the hole, Kokrak grabbed all the balls he had left, jumped in his car and went home. He was disqualified from the tournament after failing to complete the hole and record a score and fail to sign and return a scorecard.
The story of Kokrak’s walk-off wedge into the great unknown would be strange in itself – who does that? – but then there’s the potential for a bigger walk-off of epic proportions.
Kokrak, 37, who was sponsored by Golf Saudi before the Saudi-backed LIV Golf was a thing and played in the Saudi International in February with approval from the PGA Tour, has long been rumored to be a player likely to will join the starting circuit. However, this would lead to an unlimited suspension from the PGA Tour, where he has won three titles and more than $20 million since joining in 2012. Earlier this year, Kokrak was one of the most outspoken players when he admitted he was in talks with LIV Golf and his goal was to make as much money as possible so he could retire at 44 and watch his kids grow up. .
LIV Golf has three spots left in the 48-man field scheduled for next week in Portland at Pumpkin Ridge. Could Kokrak be one of the players mentioned later?
If this was Kokrak’s last shot on the PGA Tour – and that’s just a conjecture at this point – it will go down in history as a perpetual walk and quite a slap in the face from a Tour that has been pretty darn good for him – making $20 million isn’t too shabby.
Action Network’s Jason Sobel texted fellow Tour pro William McGirt, who played in Kokrak’s troupe on Friday and witnessed his final. According to Sobel’s reporting, McGirt said they were unaware the ball had gone out of bounds and pointed out that since Kokrak was sure to miss the cut, the decision not to finish his round was actually taken as a time-saving measure to help the group behind them who was already waiting in the fairway.
As Sobel noted, “it wasn’t a goodbye to PGA Tour life.”
That has yet to be determined.