PGA president doesnt expect changes at Whistling Straits
The golf world was still reeling Monday over the two-shot penalty given to Dustin Johnson on the final hole. He grounded his 4-iron in the sand to the right of the fairway, not aware he was in a bunker.
Johnson had a one-shot lead when he teed off on the 18th. He missed a 7-foot par putt and seemed to slip into a playoff. But when he learned he had let his club touch the sand during his preshot routine, Johnson added two shots to his score and tied for fifth.
Asked if there was any consideration to change the unusual local bunker rule for 2015, PGA of America president Jim Remy said, “Not at this point.”
“Obviously, it’s the day after,” Remy said. “I’m sure (championship director) Kerry Haigh will do his due diligence. He made the decision not to do it from 2004 to 2010. My guess is that probably the way we’re leaning is to leave it that way.”
It wasn’t the first time someone paid for the bunker rule at Whistling Straits.
When the PGA Championship was first played there in 2004, Stuart Appleby was penalized four shots late in the third round for removing a dead piece of grass (two shots) to the right of the 16th hole and touching the sand on a practice swing (two shots).
That didn’t cost him a major championship, though.
What never will be known is how Johnson would have fared in the three-hole playoff, which Martin Kaymer won over Bubba Watson. It was the most shocking finish involving rules at a major since Roberto de Vicenzo signed for a 4 when he had made a 3 on the 17th hole of the final round in the 1968 Masters. He had to accept the higher score and finished one shot behind Bob Goalby.
Johnson said he didn’t look at the rules sheet that had been posted all week in the locker room and on the first tee throughout the week, explaining that every bunker was a hazard, even if they were outside the ropes where the gallery had been standing.
“It was unfortunate for Dustin. I feel bad for him. He’s a PGA member, just like I am,” said Remy, the general manager of Okemo Valley Golf Club in Vermont. “I feel sad for him the way it all unfolded. But that’s the rules of golf. Those things happen in sports, and nobody feels good about it.”
Remy said he didn’t see a a practical solution for 2015, or in 2020 for the Ryder Cup.
“Do you mark 900 of them not as bunkers and 300 as bunkers? How do you ever mark them?” he said. “Clearly, with this happening, players will be more aware of it in the future. And we didn’t have any other infractions during the week.”
Players continued to weigh in on both sides.
“In light of PGA finish, Augusta just announced new seating for patrons available in right greenside bunker by 18 green,” Stewart Cink joked on Twitter.
PGA Tour rookie Kris Blanks, who missed the cut at the PGA, posted a picture of a child’s sandbox and suggested that would be considered a bunker at Whistling Straits.
Johnson tied for fifth, still enough for him to easily make the Ryder Cup team. The only way he would have failed to finish among the top eight qualifiers would have been to sign his card for a bogey and learn of the bunker gaffe later. Then, he would have been disqualified for signing an incorrect score.
“The one thing that I will remember from this more than anything is the way Dustin handled himself,” Pavin said. “He was very mature. I couldn’t imagine a player handling it any better than he did. He played beautiful golf on Sunday, put himself in position to win the tournament. I think it was the proper ruling. It was an unfortunate situation.”
Among the questions raised was whether the marshals should have done a better job clearing out the gallery around Johnson, which might have made it clearer to him that he was on the edge of a bunker.
Johnson thought it was grass that had been trampled all week by foot traffic.
The PGA rules official didn’t remind Johnson that he was in a bunker – if he even knew – although Paul Goydos pointed out that a rules official’s job is not to remind players of the rule, rather to interpret them if a player asks.
Goydos is not sure he would change the bunker rules for 2015.
“You’ve either got to say they’re all bunkers or they’re not bunkers,” Goydos said. “I don’t think you take into account that guys would hit the ball 75 yards off line. Maybe they could have cleared the gallery so he could see the bunker. It’s just a weird situation.”
Asked if the PGA could make a rule that anything outside the ropes is not a bunker, Goydos shook his head.
“Now you’re trying to call foul balls and fair balls,” he said.
After Johnson hit his 4-iron to the left of the 18th green into a difficult spot, he sent a magnificent flop shop to 7 feet. That gave him a chance – or so it seemed – to win his first major. Remy was standing behind the 18th green watching it all unfold when he heard radio traffic about a potential problem on the bunker shot.
It was not clear if PGA officials noticed the problem on the telecast or if someone alerted them to it.
Remy wasn’t sure what to think.
“I was aware of what was unfolding, but at that time, I didn’t know the outcome,” he said. “I knew there was a question. I was aware we were going to have to deal with the issue. But I wanted the putt to go in because I didn’t know what the ruling would be. I thought it would have been an epic finish to a great championship.”
And what if the putt had gone in?
“It didn’t,” Remy said. “But I sure thought about it.”
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.