Add Tiger Woods to the list of high-profile players who blasted the USGA for its handling of the Dustin Johnson penalty at the U.S. Open.
“It was awful,” Woods said Wednesday at Congressional, “because no one knew what was going on. DJ didn’t know how he stood. The rest of the guys who were ahead of him didn’t understand what was going on. The final group didn’t know what was going on. No one had a clue. …
“No one understood where they stood in the tournament, so that determines what you’re going to do. So much depends on the scenarios and where you stand, and it dictates how you play. It was frustrating to watch how it was handled because I think that championship being our national title, and the history behind it, it deserved a better handling of the situation.”
Woods said he thought that if the rules official in the group cleared Johnson of any wrongdoing on the fifth green, then that decision was binding. Woods’ frustration grew once Jeff Hall, the USGA’s managing director of rules and competitions, appeared on the Fox telecast and suggested that Johnson was in line for a one-stroke penalty after his round, even though none of the other competitors, or Johnson, were aware of that likelihood.
“I saw guys were making a lot of mistakes coming in,” Woods said, “because it became such an unnerving situation. I didn’t think it was fair to anybody – it wasn’t fair to Dustin, it wasn’t fair to the other players who had a chance. It just wasn’t fair to anyone.”
When asked how he would have handled that situation, Woods smiled.
“I’m a little bit feistier than Dustin,” he said, “so I think I probably would have said a few more things during the round.”