Thank goodness the USGA didn’t screw up the final round of the US Open (although it certainly appears they tried). Dustin Johnson broke through and won his first major despite having a potential (and eventual) penalty stroke hanging over his head as he played down the stretch. He finished in style with a birdie on 18 for an eventually 3 stroke victory over Scott Piercy, Jim Furyk and Shane Lowry. (More on the USGA below.)
The 2015 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year Sei Young Kim had to wait out the finish of the Meijer LPGA Classic to learn that she would be in a playoff with Carlota Gigandi. The event only needed one playoff hole as Kim knocked in a birdie putt for the win. It was her 2nd victory of the year and her 5th overall of her Short LPGA career.
On the Symetra Tour, Jackie Stoelting won the Fair Winds Invitational or her 2nd consecutive victory.
James Driscoll posted the Web.com victory at the Nashville Golf Open.
Now for the USGA ….
Let me first say that the following is solely my commentary (Golf Director Drew) and you the reader are welcome to disagree.
Golf is referred to as “a Gentleman’s Game.” Golfers are entrusted with playing by the rules and calling penalties on themselves if warranted. On the 5th green yesterday, Dustin Johnson had his ball move while standing over it (but not addressing it). He called over the the rules official walking with the group – Mark Newell. He told the official that he didn’t cause the ball to move. Now keep in mind that Newell is the Chairman of the USGA Rules Committee. Newell heard what Johnson had to say, also asked Johnson’s playing partner Lee Westwood who also indicated Johnson had not caused the ball to move. Newell then made the decision to clear Johnson of any penalty. He was told to play the ball where it came to a stop. That should have been the end of it under USGA’s Rule 34-2 (if a referee has been appointed by the committee, his decision is final).
Ah but hold on. the USGA ignored their own rule. They went to a review of the video taken which might show that there possibly could have been a rules infraction. The USGA Managing Director of Rules Jeff Hall approached Johnson on the 12th tee box and alerted him of the potential penalty stroke. Had they made the decision? No. They will wait until the round would be over. Not only did USGA powers to be not listen to Johnson and Westwood, they did not accept the decision by Newell at the time of the event (Rule 34-2).
They did finally rule that Johnson had caused the ball to move (not the grass under it) and assessed the penalty stroke. Thank goodness that it didn’t matter. You have about a 1/2 dozen golfers in virtual contention not knowing what the “score” was and potentially affected their respective game plan down the stretch.
Even the USGA representative when interviewed on air hemmed and hawed when describing what had gone on and really appears to suggest that the penalty stroke decision had be made.
The USGA committee was at a minimum irresponsible for having the decision drag on. The decision on the 5th green should have been the end of it under Rule 34-2. Why have an official there if his decision is meaningless and rules are ignored? Is every stroke for all golfers on the course recorded? NO !!! There should be No “after the fact” review when there is an on the course rules official/referee present. Only in the absence of an on course referee, should the committee be involved (Rule 34-3).