Intense heat at TPC Southwind sets season record, causes medical attention for caddie
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – There’s no need to tell anyone who ventured outside this summer that it’s hot, but Friday at the FedEx St. Jude Championship hit differently.
According to the PGA Tour’s meteorologist, the high temperature on Day 2 at TPC Southwind was 94 degrees with a heat index of 110 degrees, which is a record this season.
Players said the heat was so severe it impacted decision making and in the case of Eric Larson, Harris English’s caddie, the intense conditions forced him to seek medical attention.
“[Larson] bent down to tie his shoe on the 11th hole [the second hole] and he kind of stood up like he was about to go down. I told him to take a knee,” English said. “I grew up in south Georgia and this is the hottest, muggiest day I’ve ever had on the golf course.”
Larson received an IV and was treated for heat illness. He was replaced by a spectator, local club professional Andrew Argotsinger, but he’s expected to be back on the bag on Saturday.
There’s an unwritten policy on Tour that when the heat index reaches 100 degrees caddies are allowed to take their bibs off. Players don’t have the same option to wear shorts when the conditions become extreme but days like Friday would certainly justify a policy change.
“Absolutely,” said second-round leader Lucas Glover when asked if he’d be in favor of a policy change that allowed players to wear shorts. “It would be nice today. Wouldn’t be seeing so many guys’ underwear.”
Given Friday’s extremes, however, Jordan Spieth didn’t think shorts would make much of a difference.
“My shirt made me weigh 5 more pounds today. I don’t think the pants added much to it,” Spieth said. “If they gave us the option, I would have worn shorts, but I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference. You’d have just seen the sweat dripping down my legs instead of having dark pants on.”
Spieth said there were a few moments during his round when the heat impacted his decision making and he plans to limit his warm-ups the rest of the week to conserve energy.
“I just kind of felt like I was foggy in some of my decisions. Like I kind of felt like, man, what was I thinking hitting that club there when I could have hit this one,” said Spieth, who is a stroke behind Glover following a second-round 68. “I just stepped up, grabbed a club, and I was so worried about it being dry and then all of a sudden I’m over the ball and I’m like, what am I doing here.”
Unfortunately, there’s no relief in sight with similar conditions forecast for the weekend with highs around 94 degrees and “feels like” temperatures topping out at 108 degrees.