PGA’s Official Statement on Dustin Johnson’s Two Stoke Penalty

The PGA of America released the following on the Dustin Johnson penalty for grounding his club in a hazard—bunker:

92nd PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty today upon the completion of the final round of the 92nd PGA Championship, for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits.

The penalty dropped Johnson to a finishing score of 9-under-par 279 and he was not eligible to compete in a three-hole aggregate playoff to determine the 2010 Champion.

The following is the wording that was made available to all competitors by The PGA of America Rules Committee, as a Local Rule for the 92nd PGA Championship:

Bunkers: All areas of the course that were designed and built as sand bunkers will be played as bunkers (hazards), whether or not they have been raked. This will mean that many bunkers positioned outside of the ropes, as well as some areas of bunkers inside the ropes, close to the rope line, will likely include numerous footprints, heel prints and tire tracks during the play of the Championship. Such irregularities of surface are a part of the game and no free relief will be available from these conditions.

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10 thoughts on “PGA’s Official Statement on Dustin Johnson’s Two Stoke Penalty”

  1. I didn’t see it – but from what I have read so far, the rules were pretty clear about this.

    I do think it stinks that they would allow people to stand in, drive through, sit in, whatever- in a bunker.  If it is a bunker in play, then it should be roped off or people should not be allowed in it.  Waste area, different story, spectate all you want in there.

    However, this is the first time I have ever heard that you could ground your club in a waste area.  I thought that was a hazard where you couldn’t ground your club.

  2. This is by far the worst call ever!!  Even the guy on the golf channel said they did the same thing in 2004 and had the same problem (with Stuart Appleby). When you can’t say how many bunkers are on a course, proving a sandy area is a bunker is going to be hard!

  3. Here is a grounding/testing question.  Going into a large bunker for the ball in the middle of the bunker- Can I take a rake with me and drop it to make the cleanup faster and keep pace up?  Is that testing? 

    In my mind, it sure is a lot less testing than I do with my feet.  When I am twisting those shoes to get my good grip, that is a lot more testing than you get from touching the sand with your wedge.

  4. I have never played at WS, and if I did, it would eat my lunch. I have, though, spent plenty of time walking along Lake Michigan (albeit in Michigan), and my impression from watching the tournament on TV is that the course is built on one big expanse of sand.

    So one question to me is “was this spot of ground clearly defined AS a bunker?” If it was in the middle of the fairway, then yes. But the edge of the fairway—and perhaps way off the edge of the fairway (not sure where this one wasy), then I think the question is more fuzzy. From my limited vantage point, Johnson wasn’t in a bunker, but a spot of sand in the grass that wasn’t in the fairway.

    Yeah, and that whole thing about people being allowed to walk, ride, sit, whatever, inside a hazard is just strange.

  5. I personally have never seen a sand bunker full of grass.  He was on grass and the divot kicked up dirt with a little bit of sand.  The 2010-11 USGA Rules of Golf define a bunker as a “hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like.” 

    I can say with absolute certainty turf or soil was not removed in that area and replaced with sand.  This honestly was total incompetence on the part of the PGA rules committee.  And the PGAs response of basically “they’re all bunkers” is bogus. 

    So was all the rough on the course a bunker than?  Nope!  Do they allow spectators at PGA tournaments to sit in “bunkers” for all 4 days?  Not a real course.  If this is the issue they have a Whistling Straits then they should not allow PGA events there.  OR any USGA event for that matter.  I would even say to not allow this course for any type of competition event ever.  Either they need to upgrade the quality of the course to reflect the quality I can get at any cheap $25 a round course or just turn it back into a cow pasture. 

    This is a travesty brought to golf by a terrible PGA rules committee and a disgracefully up kept cow pasture.  If the course can not even decide if it is a “bunker” then it is not even close to being considered a bunker.

  6. You want to piss off the PGA and USGA?
    The Players should get together and at the next event at every shot a rules offical should be called before you take your next shot!
    The Gallery can hold up signs that read “what rules are we playing today”

  7. another piece of craaaap ending by the rules idiots that actually had a rules official walking with the group, was he taking a dump in one of the 1000’s bunkers while the entire championship was on the line.  take your pga of america bs and shove it right in your piehole for dessert


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