In what turned out to be one of the most talked about and controversial rulings of recent years, Dustin Johnson was penalized by 2 strokes immediately ruling him out of the chance to compete for the win in the playoffs which were eventually competed for by Bubba Watcon and the eventual winner Martin Kaymer. Golf is more than just about low scores and in what will be a life long lesson to Dustin Johnson, his score eventually became a 1-over 73 and the gold moved from the greens to the calculation boards and about reading notices and calculating the moves.
It was a sort of flashback for golf enthusiasts who would remember something very similar that happened in 2004 when Stuart Appleby was handed out a four shot penalty in the third round because of his negligence in reading the rule sheet. Here, both Johnson and his partner Watney ignored the rule sheets which eventually cost Johnson big time as he was within striking distance of the win. With birdies in the 16th and 17th holes, he had taken a one-shot lead which was totally wiped out when his bogey became a triple bogey more or less ruling him out of title contention.
Going into the 18th hole, Johnson held a one-shot lead and blew his tee 40 yards wide of the fairway. Aerial views show that though the area was designed as a bunker, the lack of heavy sand meant it could easily be confused as dirt brought around by the huge throngs of crowd watching the match. Johnson grounded his club on the dirt, something that you aren’t allowed to do in a bunker, which cost him two shots, even though he didn’t realise he was in a bunker?! If you ever get bored then you can get information about the PGA Tour and all the quirky little rules and penalties on the golf channel website.
Johnson’s caddie barked a “No Comment” when the eventual ruling of the 2 shot penalty was announced. Even the crowd booed the judgment as it was harsh and uncalled for. There was a huge crowd of journalists waiting outside as Dustin Johnson was being interrogated and he also had massive support from his fellow professionals on social media like Twitter. It’s very rarely that a ruling causes such an upheaval and the PGA has been forced to address the crowd and appeal for a bit of calm.
Former pros have been scathing in their attack of the rules and have dismissed as amateurish attempts to pass on a poorly constructed bunker filled with spectators as a proper bunker. The huge crowd and lack of sand is what Dustin Johnson claims misled him into believing it was a normal grass rather than a bunker.