6:56pm Sunday June 19th: Currently Dustin Johnson is putting for birdie on 14 with a one shot lead at the US Open. Well it might be a one shot lead at the US Open and that is why I am a bit annoyed.
On the fifth hole of the final round of the US Open, Dustin Johnson called over a rules official because his ball possibly moved prior to him putting. Moved is a very lose term, we are talking possibly moving a millimeter from it’s original resting place. The rules official asked Dustin if he caused the ball to move and Dustin clearly stated no. The rules official and Dustin spoke a bit and then the official told Dustin he was good and Dustin holed his par putt. This all happened while Dustin was chasing the lead.
On the 12th green, yes you read that right, seven full holes later, a USGA official tells Dustin, “You may be assessed a penalty you may not, we will look at when you finish your round.”
Are you kidding me? Wait, so on the fifth hole when he asked if it was a penalty, which you are supposed to do based on the rules of golf, you told him no. Then on the 12th you have to think about it more. What the hell were you doing for the last seven holes that DJ was playing? Let’s also mention that on the 12th Dustin was now playing with a one shot lead.
Let me paint you a picture here. Imagine if you will, that Aaron Rodgers throws what appears to be a touchdown to Jordy Nelson against the New England Patriots in the second quarter of a Super Bowl. The officials go and review it, we all watch the review, and think Jordy got both feet in bounds. Then Ed Hochuli announces to the millions of people worldwide the following, “We will further review that TD once the game is complete. We are going to allow Green Bay to proceed with the extra point and play the game from here. At the end of the game we will officially announce whether or not that was a TD.”
People would lose their minds, Belichick would tear of the sweatshirt and tell his spies to find out information, there would be an FBI investigation into the NFL, and at half time we would have the halftime show interrupted by a presidential address from the East wing.
Let’s also contemplate this. How would the two teams play out the rest of that game? What if Tom Brady was down two points or possibly eight points leading the Patriots down the field in the last 45 seconds of said Super Bowl? Do they go for the TD and 2-point conversion to tie game or just kick FG to win game by one? What if Green Bay has the ball with two minutes left and they don’t know if they are ahead or behind? Do you see the problem here USGA? You can’t decide the score of a championship after the competition is over.
Immediately, Twitter erupted with questions and people’s displeasure. None of these tweets were as strong as the one’s from fellow golfers who included Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els and countless others. All of them illustrated the ridiculousness of this situation and the fact, and more importantly if you ask me, that Dustin should not be assessed a penalty based on everything they saw.
That is what I find the most important. Professional golfers like the ones I mentioned above know rules inside and out and can tell the difference between something the golfer caused and something that just happened. Brandt Snedeker’s and Rickie Fowler’s Twitter exchange summed it up for me:
— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) June 19, 2016
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) June 19, 2016
Other good Tweets:
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) June 19, 2016
This isn't right for anyone on that golf course. If it was me I wouldn't hit another shot until this farce was rectified.
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) June 19, 2016
— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) June 20, 2016
Logic and common sense. Two things that golfers use to make a ruling. Why can’t the USGA do the same? Again I go back to the fact that Dustin called over the rules official. This wasn’t like other times where we have seen golfers go to sign a scorecard and they are notified that they broke a rule during their round. He asked for a ruling, was given one and played from there. That is why the USGA is being grilled faster than Father’s Day steaks are right now. You can’t change a ruling once you make it. It also appeared to many that the USGA was toying with the idea that Dustin lied to them. So now we are at this point of golf. What led you believe that Dustin would lie to you? Do you have evidence of him lying in the past. The only evidence I have of a similar situation was at the 2011 US Open when Dustin called over a rules official and gave himself a penalty for a similar situation. Doesn’t sound like a liar to me.
Dustin went on to par the 12th hole and then seemed to become a bit unhinged on 13 and 14 with two loose shots. From there he putted brilliantly making necessary par putts, and his drive on 18, and shot from the fairway, are two of the most brilliant shots at a US Open I have seen. Factor in the normal US Open pressure and then the added pressure of this potential ruling DJ went out and did his thing.
You want to know something else I found to be quite humorous? Right before DJ’s second shot on 18 we at home heard what appeared to be the cameraman’s cell phone go off. Yes that’s right the cameraman following DJ phone may have gone off right before one of the biggest shots of a golfers life. Prior to this we heard an official yelling at a fan for taking a picture of Shane Lowery on 17 before his tee shot, but the cameraman forgot to silence his phone. What is happening at Oakmont right now? You know what DJ did? Stuck his shot to four feet from the hole and birdied the hole to get to five under for the tournament. At least we thought it’s 5 under.
Dustin’s final score really didn’t matter at the end of the day because he won by 3 strokes even with the one stroke penalty being assessed (officially shot four under for tournament). The penalty was not assessed until 8:15pm almost 3.5 hours after the incident on the fifth hole occurred.
The USGA dodged one of the biggest bullets ever. But that’s my point, the USGA needs to make this situation right so we don’t have this issue EVER again. They cannot tell someone you may be assessed a penalty. Make a ruling and stand by your ruling.
DJ took the high road to take that penalty. This ordeal cannot be overlooked because of a multiple shot victory
— Jordan Spieth (@JordanSpieth) June 20, 2016
It’s not good for the game when you are making the US Open look like a WWE event with this type of controversy. Johnson saw the ball move, he called over an official and that official made a ruling. That should have been the end of this issue but it wasn’t and that is what the USGA should be answering to in the coming days. Kudos to DJ on his first major win and standing strong mentally after this complete farce of a ruling but USGA you have a lot of explaining to do.
Let’s celebrate DJ and his first major. He earned it. The US Open is so taxing physically and mentally and let’s not forget that DJ played 36 holes on Friday to get to this point. That is 36 US Open holes in one day. Man that’s a tough day. On Tuesday it’s time to start holding officials accountable.