Jason Kokrak’s final shot of the Travelers Championship was a doozy, and it led to a now unusual disqualification from the tournament.
Having belted a drive of 327 yards into the left rough at the ninth hole of the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., His final hole of the day, the Burly Kokrak had little to play for and it showed. Having opened in 3-under 67 on Thursday, he was 4 over on the day – the damage of a 5-putt leading to one of two double bogeys on his card – and would need a minor miracle to make the cut.
Still, Kokrak, who is the 33rd-ranked player in the world, was just 43 yards from the hole. His all-or-nothing shot turned out to be a Giant dud, Flying over the green and across the road. ShotLink measured it as having traveled “87 yards into the unknown.”
But rather than go back to the original spot and take a penalty and finish out the hole, Kokrak took whatever balls they had left, hopped in his car and went home. He was disqualified from the tournament after failing to finish the hole and record a score and failing to sign and return a scorecard.
The story of Kokrak’s walk-off wedge into the great unknown would be a strange one in and of itself – who does that? But then there’s the potential for a bigger walk-off of epic proportions.
The 37-year-old Kokrak, who has been Sponsored by Golf Saudi even before the Saudi-backed LIV Golf was a thing and played in the Saudi International in February with PGA Tour approval, has long been rumored to be a player likely to join the upstart circuit. To do so, however, would lead to an indefinite 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 forthright players when he admitted that he was in talks with LIV Golf and his goal was to make as much money as he could so he could retire at age 44 and watch his kids grow up.
LIV Golf has three spots remaining in its 48-man field scheduled for next week in Portland at Pumpkin Ridge. Could Kokrak be one of the players to be named later?
If this was the last shot Kokrak hits on the PGA Tour – and that is purely Conjecture at this point – it will go down as an all-time walk off as well as quite the slap in the face to a Tour that has been pretty darn good to him – $ 20 million earned is none too shabby.
The Action Network’s Jason Sobel texted with fellow Tour pro William McGirt, who played in Kokrak’s group on Friday and witnessed his finale. According to Sobel’s reporting, McGirt said they were unaware the ball had gone out of bounds and pointed out that since Kokrak certainly was going to miss the cut, the decision not to finish his round was actually made as a time-saving measure to help the group behind them that was already waiting in the Fairway.
As Sobel noted, “it wasn’t some walk-off from PGA Tour life.”
That is still to be determined.