Dustin Johnson’s Two Shot Penalty
If you haven’t heard by now, the background story on Dustin Johnson’s two shot penalty during the final round of the PGA Championship is as follows: Playing the 18th hole (72nd and what could have been the final hole of the 92nd PGA Championship) Johnson, who had a one shot lead on the tee, subsequently sprayed his tee shot well over to the right, even right of the gallery line. He had 233 yards to the hole, in a sandy, grassy lie. He grounded his club and hit it over the water hazard, pitching next to seven feet before missing what at the time was thought to be the winning putt. Following the tap-in which dropped him into a tie with Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer it was looking like a playoff was imminent. Until Johnson was called over by a PGA of America rules official.
Can’t Blame Johnson
Johnson, who clearly grounded his club in the “bunker” (insert sarcasm here) can’t be blamed for this one. The thousands of people who were watching, the television announcers and viewers at home did not catch it until the PGA of America approached him. Johnson was assessed a two shot penalty for grounding his club in a “bunker” (sarcasm again). Doing some serious damage control after the fact, clearly the PGA recognized the black mark they were going to have over the decision and posted a number of player notices on their Facebook page and rapidly sent out links via their Twitter account to try and control the damage. Although I don’t want to admit it, the player notices (that were sent out before the tournament began) clearly define the area as a bunker even with 900 bunkers and only 100 rakes on the course. This particular area was right of the spectator line in an area filled with cart and spectator prints, no one thought this was a bunker!
Black Mark For Golf
In a sport where we are trying to grow the game, having a bunch of guys in suits make a decision that a new or potential golfer does not understand will only hurt the game in the long run. This is black mark for the PGA of America and the game of golf.
Final thought, would the ruling have been different if it was Tiger or Phil? I for one think so!
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