Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grounded

My apologies to Mr. Miller, but I can't let another day go by without discussing the events of the PGA Championship. On Sunday, it appeared as if it was anyone's tournament, and if it weren't for a bogus ruling in my opinion Dustin Johnson could have single-handedly exercised his demons from Pebble Beach and made TPLIYP look good with a prediction for once. Since I have the very unique perspective of being at the tournament, and standing almost in that exact same spot two days earlier, I must tell you that I thought this ruling to be totally bogus. However, rules are rules and Dustin should have thought about what he was doing before he hit the shot. This appears to be a problem for Dustin on Sundays.

As I highlighted in my post on Wednesday, Whistling Straits has over 1,200 bunkers. However, many of these bunkers are merely for show, and only extremely errant shots by PGA pros would land in them. In fact, these bunkers were considered so extraneous that spectators were standing in them the whole weekend. This is precisely one of the bunkers that Dustin Johnson hit into on the 18th hole on Sunday. For those of you unfamiliar with what happened next, Dustin Johnson then "grounded" his club in the bunker before hitting the ball. This is illegal in bunkers, and caused him to receive a subsequent two-stroke penalty after he had just drained a put to make it to a playoff (or so he thought) for the championship.

Normally, an errant shot like this would land in the woods or on trampled grass in the rough, but Johnson's shot landed in a bunker, creating a very thorny issue in my opinion. How is someone expected to hit out of a bunker that people have been walking around in all week? What would have happened if Johnson's ball landed right in a huge footprint? People had been wrecking these bunkers all week, and it is not right for the PGA to consider them bunkers. Johnson's mistake lies in not reading the posting in the locker room, and I certainly don't absolve him of that, but these bunkers should be groomed like bunkers or completely done away with. The PGA is hiding behind a ruling that, to me, is a cop out and needs to be changed. I felt terrible for Dustin Johnson after his penalty, and I thought he was a victim of the PGA covering their own ass. I thought they should have admitted that the bunker was in terrible condition and given him a pass into the playoff.

Despite my support of Dustin Johnson, I still consider him to be a pretty solid choke artist. He is certainly going to be in contention for many more majors, but it appears as if his brain shuts off on Sunday. At Pebble Beach, he had a round similar to the one Nick Watney did on Sunday at Whistling Straits (a round which I called by the way) and he did not appear to be thinking at all in between shots. On the second hole he proceeded to flub about three chip shots in a row
and didn't step back to re-collect himself once or take a practice swing. I think he was having the same kind of brain cramps on the 18th hole on Sunday. Those mental mistakes ended up costing him another major.

A lot of young players fell by the wayside on Sunday to make room for Martin Kaymer to win his first major. Clearly he has the stones to win a major championship and looked rock solid all day. I think Dustin will get there someday, but he needs to be more deliberate when he has a lead. Go slow, think everything through, and make sure you are totally sure of yourself with every shot. Though he shot himself in the foot on Sunday at Whistling Straits, the PGA deserves some of the blame for creating a bogus rule. Don't be surprised if you see a rule change in that situation in the future. Also, don't be surprised if "Strick Daddy" becomes the next big nickname on tour, or if S.Y. Noh buys an dictionary to look up what "RAIN DROPS!!" means and tries to figure out why a fan yelled it after his shot on Friday afternoon.

5 comments:

  1. Dustin is still very young and he will evantually overcome his sunday demons and win a few. Rules are rules though and he should have known better. He shouldn't have been there in the first place and the fact that his ball was lying on sand should have made him call over a rules official.

    I have recently been having an argument with an older co worker of mine who continues to say that tiger is done and that all the young players on tour are going to take him down.

    I totally disagree with this. When tiger woods was young he didnt lose the lead. Watney and Johnson are both good young players but tiger never let the lead slip like they did. He would close the door.

    Its only a matter of time til tiger gets his game back and starts winning again. I do enjoy seeing these young Americans on the leaderboard but nothing will be better than watching tiger win his 19th major.

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  2. I thought the combined major stats were interesting for the year, with Woods in 2nd place to Fabulous Phil. If he leads the Ryder Cup team to victory, does that salvage a bad year?

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  3. I wouldnt say it salvages a bad year. More like whip cream on dog shit. It will be interesting to see who he shows up with, if anyone, at the opening and closing ceremonies.

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