Rules violation knocks Johnson out of PGA playoff

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2010, 4:20 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Dustin Johnson turned his pencil upside down and began erasing his scorecard.

He’d already given one major championship away. He never got a chance to finish this one.

Johnson was knocked out of the playoff at the PGA Championship on Sunday after he was penalized two strokes for grounding his club in a bunker he didn’t even realize existed. Instead of 71 to join Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson in the three-hole playoff, he changed his score from a 5 to a 7 and signed for a 73 to tie for fifth.

“I don’t know if I can describe it,” said Johnson, who showered quickly and was on his way to the parking lot before Kaymer and Watson finished their first hole. “If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have thought I was in a bunker. But it’s not up to me.”

It was the cruelest ruling at a major since Roberto de Vicenzo accidentally signed for a higher score at the 1968 Masters, and the victory went to Bob Goalby.

And it was yet another major heartbreak for Johnson.

The 26-year-old was the third-round leader at the U.S. Open, only to have a complete meltdown Sunday and shoot 82. It was the highest score in the U.S. Open by a 54-hole leader since Fred McLeod shot 83 at Chicago Golf Club in 1911. It was also Johnson’s worst score as a professional.

He insisted he wouldn’t let the collapse linger, and Pebble Beach seemed the furthest thing from his mind at Whistling Straits. When he curled in a 12-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th, he was the outright leader, less than a half-hour from redemption.

But his tee shot on 18 sailed into the gallery lining the right side of the fairway, landing in a small patch of sand that had been walked on, kicked and trampled by thousands of fans over the last week.

“Walking up and seeing the shot, never once did it cross my mind it was in a sand trap,” Johnson said. “I just thought it was on a piece of dirt the crowd had trampled down. Never thought it was a sand trap. I looked at it a lot, never once thought it was a bunker.”

Whistling Straits is designed to mimic an old-style links course, with more bunkers than you can count – literally. Anytime the grounds crew trims the fescue, another emerges. The PGA of America decided back in 2004 that every bunker is a hazard, no matter how many fans tromp through it, and players were reminded of it this week with a notice in the locker room.

Johnson never read it.

Neither, though, did many other players.

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone reads the sheets,” playing partner Nick Watney said. “I mean, we’ve played in hundreds of tournaments, we get a sheet every week.”

Unaware he was in a bunker, Johnson grounded his club before hitting toward the green. He missed a par putt that would have given him the victory, and immediately turned his attention to the playoff with Watson and Kaymer.

But as he and Watney walked off the green, he was approached by rules official David Price. There was a problem, Price told them, Johnson might have grounded his club in a bunker.

“What bunker?” was Johnson’s reaction.

Given the details, Johnson immediately said he had grounded his club.

“But I never thought it was in a bunker,” Johnson said.

Though he never disputed he’d grounded the club, Johnson and Watney spent several minutes in the scoring trailer with rules officials and watched replays of the shot.

Finally, he grabbed his pencil and changed the scorecard.

“I think I’m going to a playoff,” he said, “and I’ve got a two-stroke penalty.”

Johnson was composed when he spoke to the media in the clubhouse, never once blaming officials. Or even questioning them. He’d violated a rule, no matter if he didn’t realize it.

His lone consolation is that his finish earned him a spot on his first Ryder Cup team. But whenever he sees the Wanamaker Trophy from now, Johnson will know it could have – maybe should have – been his.

“Maybe a little bit,” Johnson said when someone suggested the title was “stolen” from him. “But that’s how it goes.”

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


Masters victory


Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


Man of the people


Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


Departure from TaylorMade


Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


Victory at Valderrama


Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm