Aug
17
2010
Yardage Footage of the 18th Hole at Whistling Straits
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

Thanks to Reader Mark for passing along this diagram of the 18th hole from the official yardage book. In the comments section of this post, he wrote:

Well, I managed to get a copy of the official yardage book for this year’s PGA Championship – and the bunker in question is in there on a diagram of the 18th hole along with all the other bunkers along the right hand side where the gallery was! When Johnson consulted his yardage book, he would have seen this.

Rather than letting the tournament officials hang out to dry, Johnson should fess up on this one and take full responsibility. He wasn’t robbed, nothing was stolen. With the yardage guide, he would have known about the bunker. Likely forgot a few seconds later in the heat of the moment and accidentally grounded his club.

So, I replied:

@Marky Mark — can you take a photo of the diagram of the 18th hole and send it to me, please? I’d like to post it…thanks so much.

@MarkyMark — Johnson did take responsibility. He never said he was robbed. He admitted he should have read the local rules. But he didn’t realize it. I think it’s one of those “rules” that’s a little sketchy because if a player can’t tell it’s a bunker right away, that’s a course design / set up issue. He actually grounded the club two different times…and was very relaxed and jovial.

And then he responded:
@Stephanie – you’re right, he did take responsibility. I have just been reading blogs and listening to programs where fans are still saying he was robbed or that that the PGA of America is partly culpable.
I emailed you the relevant pages from the yardage book – he would have seen it in there when he was doing his yardage and then likely just forgot at address because of the enormity of the moment.
The whole thing is just a sad tragedy. No element of scandal.
As you can see in the diagram above, the bunkers are marked in the yardage book. But did anyone see Johnson or his caddie, Bobby Brown, look at it on 18? It wasn’t shown on the telecast. I’ve asked some of my colleagues that were there and no one can recall. But it’s the caddie’s job to give the player the yardage, especially when the player is in position to win a major championship — the caddie should recognize the situation and do what he needs to, so the player can win. That said, while it’s undeniably Johnson’s responsibility to double-check, more fault falls on Brown, no?