Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship, in case you didn’t know.
This year’s final major will forever be linked to Dustin Johnson’s fatal two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole.
Johnson’s gaffe at the final hole while leading by a stroke in what seemed like his redemption for the Sunday meltdown at the U.S. Open cost D.J. a major.
Kaymer and Bubba Watson went forth in a three-hole playoff without Johnson, who must be cursing his decision not to ask for a ruling when he landed his tee shot at the 18th into one of a thousand bunkers at Whistling Straits.
Kaymer took the Wanamaker Trophy, but the tournament will have the same link to Johnson as the 1968 Masters has to Roberto de Vicenzo.
The Argentine was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard that gave the Green Jacket to Bob Goalby.
In 2010, the final major of the year brought the public an exhilarating Sunday, only to be capped by the cruelest of finishes.
Johnson said he didn’t think it was a bunker.
I have to agree. What PGA Tour stop has hazards that the gallery can walk through and stand in all day?
The answer is none. No course is littered with bunkers that don’t look like sand traps as Whistling Straits presents.
Plus there weren’t any characteristics that would make you think, yes, that’s a hazard.
However, River Run Golf Links head pro Clint Wright said he thought it was a bunker.
“They’ve done so many overhead shots of that golf course,” Wright said. “And they’ve made such a big deal about having a thousand bunkers on the golf course. Anybody with any common sense knows you can’t get a maintenance crew out there raking a thousand bunkers everyday.”
Johnson should have consulted with a rules official. His caddy should have stepped in and stopped Johnson from committing the egregious error.
And Johnson should have read the local rules sheet that was posted in the locker room and handed out and placed at the first tee.
But there needs to be consistency.
Bobby Jones famously cost himself a tournament for calling a penalty on himself — it’s what makes golf uniquely different from other sports.
Now there are television cameras everywhere, ready to pounce.
But if this was the opening round, then no penalty would have been issued.
Since it happened on the last hole while he was in contention to win his first major, the use of TV replay came into the picture.
Let’s get consistent with the use of instant replay and clearly define the hazards (making sure galleries aren’t trampling them like it’s a waste area).
One thing is for sure though, and that’s Johnson will be sure to read the local rules in the future.