Skip to main content

Fair but unfortunate

I admire the manner in which Dustin Johnson handled the unfortunate situation Sunday. Absolutely the rule was administered properly. Players had the ability and responsibility to read the local rule regarding the bunkers on the course. There was extensive discussion throughout the week regarding how many bunkers were on the Straits Course. It was estimated that there were near 1,200. But with the number of bunkers not completely known, you would think that it would be universally understood among contestants that anything that could be a bunker was a bunker – not a waste bunker – but an actual bunker to which the normal rules of the hazard apply.

The regrettable parts of the situation are that A) Johnson admitted he had not read the local rules sheet and B) that there was not a rules official on hand to assess the situation for the shot from the crowd, even though one was assigned to walk with the group.

Johnson could have asked for clarification and a ruling if he felt he needed it, but he did not. And while a rules official could have offered his advice and direction before the potential of an infraction of the rules, he did not. What happened cannot be undone. The rules exist for a reason and are universally applied. It is fair, but unfortunate. And the way that Dustin accepted the ruling, the questions from the media, and the heartbreak was undeniably graceful and reflective of the gentleman’s game.