Who was to blame for the Johnson fiasco

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 17, 2010, 7:01 pm

Who was to blame for the Dustin Johnson fiasco on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship? Senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell offer up their opinions.


There are no shortage of suspects in the great Wanamaker Trophy heist of 2010, not the least of which is Whistling Straits patriarch Herb Kohler and his twisted accomplice Pete Dye who created a wonderful 16-hole test tee to green but an utterly unwalkable, and virtually unplayable, periphery.

They have towering dunes on some of Ireland’s greatest courses as well, Ballybunion and Waterville come to mind, they just don’t dot them with ornamental bunkers or host major championships.

Similarly, Dustin Johnson’s caddie, Bobby Brown, can’t escape blame entirely and walking rules official David Price was strangely absent from the proceedings.

Even the PGA of America, the organization that runs “Glory’s Last Shot,” isn’t without sin. In 2004 when the PGA Championship first visited Whistling Straits, officials wrestled with the idea of having all bunkers inside the ropes classified as hazards and those outside the ropes play as waste areas. Although not a perfect fix, it’s one we hope officials revisit when the PGA returns in 2015.

But the ultimate blame rests with Johnson. The 26-year-old admitted he didn’t read the local rule sheet and, at the very least, is guilty of a glaring lack of situational awareness. Just or not, a rule was violated. And in golf that’s all that matters.


Ultimately, the blame is on Dustin Johnson and his caddie, but we get to point fingers in a lot of directions.

This is significantly different if Johnson had said he read the local rule that the PGA cautioned players about, the rule that all gazillion of Pete Dye’s bunkers on the course were considered in play, regardless whether Sally and Timmy Jones were building sand castles in them.

If Johnson had said he read the local rules and still didn’t realize he was in a bunker, it throws this debacle more heavily on the PGA’s shoulders. It’s ridiculous to say every patch of dirt is a bunker outside the ropes there. That’s why we also get to blame the PGA, Dye, founder Herb Kohler and the walking rules official who did not intervene. Walking around Whistling Straits, it’s difficult to know where the dirt ended and the sand began in the wispy fescue grasses.

The fact that the crowd swarmed that patch of hell Johnson fell into radically skewed the perspective of the landscape when he got there. That bunker isn’t all that got trampled. Common sense did. Because I don’t believe that was really a bunker Johnson played from. It looked more like a man-made grandstand.
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Bubba holes birdie from bunker after caddie calls it

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 10:31 pm

Bubba Watson started the final round of the Genesis Open with the lead, but quickly squandered it with three bogeys on the front nine.

That didn't crush the two-time tournament champion's (or his caddie's) confidence though, as evidenced by his birdie on the par-3 14th hole, which he made from the greenside bunker.

Watson regained the final-round lead by finding the bottom of the cup with this splash-out from the sand, a shot his caddie, Ted Scott, apparently called before he hit it:

Hey, when you caddie for a guy who has two green jackets hanging in the closet at home, sometimes you just know.

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Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 9:01 pm

John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.

Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.

Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.

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Gustafson shares stuttering success video

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 8:31 pm

Sophie Gustafson shared a breakthrough Sunday morning on YouTube.

Gustafson, a five-time LPGA winner and 16-time Ladies European Tour winner, shared her news in a 4-minute and 15-second video.

She did so without stuttering.

And that’s the nature of her breakthrough, something she is sharing in hopes that it will help others who stutter.

“I’m certainly not perfect, and the next time you see me, I am going to stutter, there is no question about that,” she says in the video. “But I am excited, because I am going in the right direction, and I believe I have found the solution that works for me.”

For someone who has struggled with stuttering all of her life, Gustafson has touched so many with her ability to communicate. She has entertained her legion of Twitter followers with her sense of humor. She also has written articles.

Back in 2011, Gustafson touched Golf Channel viewers when she opened up about her stuttering in an interview that was aired during the Solheim Cup. Her courage in sharing her challenges was recognized the following year, when the Golf Writers Association of American presented her its Ben Hogan Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has persevered through physical ailment. She also won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award that year.

Gustafson, 44, left the game as a player three years ago to become Beth Allen’s full-time caddie on the Ladies European Tour. She explains in the YouTube video that she is making her breakthrough with the help of Steve Gill, a team member with Tony Robbins’ life and business strategy group.

Gustafson said Gill led her to breathing, meditation and incantation exercises that have helped her since they began working together eight months ago.

“If you know anyone who stutters, tell them to breathe in and then speak,” Gustafson said. “I tried it the other way for 44 years, and it's just not working.” 

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J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

Make way for Jin Young Ko.

The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.

Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

Ko finished at 14 under overall.

It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.