Rub of the Green

By John HawkinsAugust 16, 2010, 8:12 am
2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. –  A pitcher for the Detroit Tigers lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning earlier this year, solely because of an umpire's missed call. Is that an outrage? Absolutely. An injustice? Only in a subjective context – flubbed judgment is an indictment of the process, not the man who made the mistake.

Dustin Johnson lost his spot in a three-hole playoff at the PGA Championship because he grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole. No less a crying shame, but accountability is the issue here. In a game that claims to police itself, the system failed miserably.

In golf, we boast righteousness and morality one minute, then blame everyone but the guilty party for the sake of convenient rationale the next. Anything other than an emotional verdict tells us Johnson messed up. Upon finding his ball in sand right of the 18th fairway, his first responsibility should have been to clarify his rights as a competitor before striking his next shot.

“It never crossed my mind that I was in a bunker,” Johnson would say. “I just thought I was on a piece of dirt the crowd had trampled down.”

This qualifies as an assumption, and you know what they say about those who assume. Before the tournament began, the PGA of America released a rules sheet explicitly addressing the exact conditions that resulted in Johnson's two-stroke penalty. According to the provision, texture, definition and footprints all were rendered irrelevant. The field staff overseeing the tournament obviously thought long and hard about the sandy areas at Whistling Straits before making its decision, and when a decision was made, it was transmitted in the clearest of terms. There was no ambiguity involved in the process.

Still, sympathists will continue to take issue over the fact that Johnson’s ball came to rest in an area filled with spectators, and that people who come out to watch major championships shouldn’t be allowed to stand in bunkers. No argument there, but a lot of passages in the Rules of Golf don’t seem to make sense, and any local addendum such as this is sure to raise eyebrows. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t posted. That doesn’t mean ignorance serves as a viable excuse.

Frankly, I wish Johnson had been allowed to compete in the playoff. I picked him to win on the Golf Channel’s pregame show and found justice in the notion that he put himself in position to win Sunday after his final-round meltdown at the U.S. Open. I’m guessing more people would have been pulling for him than for Martin Kaymer or Bubba Watson, but rooting interests are a personal matter, unrelated to the regulations designed to uphold the premise of competitive equity.

It sounds unduly harsh only because it is. In a classic head-vs.-heart debate, a procedural action often clashes with the emotional reaction, which does nothing to alter the division between wrong and right. Dustin Johnson broke a rule, and on the 72nd hole of the year’s final major, he paid a very high price, but not because the rule was stupid or poorly conceived. Only because he played so well on the previous 71.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

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

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

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.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

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

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

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.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.