Aug
17
2010
The Day After: Dustin Johnson Talks Bunker-Gate, Says Already Over It
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson has played in the final group at two major championships this season. He’s also made two heartbreaking blunders. Similar to his reaction after the US Open, he remained calm and didn’t throw any tantrums when he was alerted on the ruling (which would have been understandable) — DJ accepted his mistake with class, and ultimately he’s probably gained quite a few new fans. He also didn’t lose any sleep.

Will he be able to come back from the most recent fumble? Like the first one, I have no doubt in my mind. From my minimal interactions with DJ, he doesn’t seem like the type to harp on the past, which is partly why he’s such a great golfer.At Monday morning’s Ryder Cup press conference, assistant captain Paul Goydos, who called it an “unfortunate and weird situation,” said, “Coming back from tough lessons is easier in golf than other sports because it’s part of the game.”

On Monday Johnson joined 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia with Harry Mayes and Tony Bruno to talk about what happened. Via Sports Radio Interviews:

On shaking off mishaps in blunders:

“Looking back at yesterday I fought hard all day. Coming down the stretch I hit some really good golf shots and made birdies when I needed to. I had a lot more chances on the backside where I felt like I hit some really good putts that just didn’t go in. I’ve got to look at the positives. I’m really proud of myself for the way that I’ve played. And also, I made the Ryder Cup team, too, which is an unbelievable accomplishment.”

On why a rules guy couldn’t have told him it was a bunker:

“I was wondering that myself. But, it’s not up to them, it’s up to me. Obviously I never once thought I was in a bunker. I know the rules of golf very well and I know that I can’t ground my club in a bunker. But it never even crossed my mind that I was in a bunker. But that’s how it goes. I made a mistake.”

On what the bunker looked like to him:

“There was all kinds of grass in it. Obviously people had been walking in it. What it looked like, to me, was just a bare spot. It’s real sandy out there when you get off the fairway no matter where you are. It just looked like a bare spot where people had worn it down from the crowd walking on it. There was no definition to it at all. Every sand trap on that whole course, you can tell it’s a sand trap because it has a distinct definition and outline in it. Even going back and looking on the TV, there’s really no definition to it, so I just never thought it was a bunker.”

On how nobody believed he was in a bunker:

“No one. No one that even looked at it. I was talking to David Feherty afterwards and he looked at it and he never thought [that]. He said the same thing I did. I thought I got a good break by being on a flat, bare spot.”

On what would have happened if he had made the putt that would have seemingly won him the tournament before the ruling:

“Of course I thought about it. I’m glad I didn’t [make it] now. Obviously I wanted to make it, but that’s a whole different story if that would’ve happened.”

On whether he considered a post-round tirade:

“It might’ve crossed my mind, but no. It is what it is and it’s the rules of golf. Things happen like that. It’s an unfortunate situation but it’s over now.”

[Photo by Allan Henry/Golf Chronicles]