By Will Gray from golfchannel.com
ORLANDO, Fla. – After a frustrating afternoon Friday at Bay Hill, Kevin Na received a show of support Saturday from the crowds at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that brought a smile to his face.
Na is known as one of the slower players on the PGA Tour, and that reputation resulted in multiple instances of heckling from the gallery during the second round. At one point, Na called over PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell and the two had a discussion that led to extra security joining Na’s group for the balance of the round.
Saturday, the crowds in Orlando showed their lighter side. While playing the 13th hole, Na was greeted by a group of fans wearing shirts that read, ”Kevin Na, worth the wait!”
Na hugged one of the fans and gave handshakes to others while walking to the 14th tee.
”It was cool. I walked up to the green and I kind of peeked over, looked over there at what it said and I just started laughing,” Na said. ”It was really nice. It was nice to get some support.”
Na did not hear any negative comments from the stands during his 1-under 71 Saturday, and after refusing to comment on the heckling Friday afternoon, he briefly addressed the situation one day later.
”It was very frustrating,” he said. ”But you know what, it’s all behind me. I try not to take it personal.”
Na sits at 4 under through 54 holes, inside the top 20 despite closing his third round with a double bogey. Having battled back injuries in the past, the 30-year-old saw the issue again resurface Saturday afternoon.
”On No. 4 I hit a driver really hard. I hit it good, but it just felt like I tweaked it a little bit,” said Na, who received treatment from a PGA Tour trainer on the 10th hole. ”It got a lot better. I’m not going to practice, but (the treatment) definitely helped.”