Hey, PGA, Is the Pail a Loose Impediment?
By Stephanie Wei under General

The Dustin Johnson/PGA bunker debacle has quickly turned from heartbreaking catastrophe into a modern farce. PGA Tour pro Kris Blanks tweeted this photo with the caption: “So according to the PGA this would be a “bunker” if it were in whistling straits.” Rickie Fowler retweeted it. So did Bo Van Pelt. I laughed…pretty hard. Nice one, Kris!

Meanwhile other pros have been chiming in — mostly via Twitter — with their opinions on the ruling. With the exception of Steve Elkington, they back up Johnson. Unsurprisingly, Stewart Cink’s Twitter feed has been the most interesting and rational. So, let’s start with some of @stewartcink’s thoughts.

I like Dustin Johnson. It’s too bad. Maybe Whistling Straits should rethink some of those obscure bunker-ish features.

@tomcats4 there are so many tiny little bunker all over the property that after a day or two of trampling feet they stop resembling bunkers.”

@golfnwood I have to agree with that assessment. It’s a shame the nature of the course (overdone) played such a big part in the outcome.

@donnabrookes there’s NEVER a doubt whether you’re in a bunker in St Andrews! Even the ones that have seen golf balls all year!

Not sure if relevant to Whistling, but after my 2004 Hilton Head waste area controversy, they rebuilt all wastes on course into bunkers.

In light of PGA finish, Augusta just announced new seating for patrons available in right greenside bunker by 18 green. #didihearyouright?

@StuartAppleby still harbors some bitterness over his four-stroke penalty in a bunker at the PGA Championship in ’04. He was one of the first to chime in:

Every bunker is listed in the rules last week to be played as normal bunkers and the normal rules apply (aka don’t ground club)
I’m very pissed and angered that this is way the 2010 PGA came to an end.
It was listed in many parts of the caddy and player areas of this unique rule for the week.
Dustin and caddy are ultimately responsible for their actions….but WTH
I think that they need to make significant changes to the course that has hundreds of pointless bunkers that patrons have to walk through to view players.
The PGA says that their a part of the game and to be treated as hazards.
Never seen patrons walking through bunkers in any other professional event (world wide) try that at Augusta.
Then I see them using leaf blowers to fluff up the rough to make the course harder (did they have them 100 years ago, think not)
We go back there in 2015 I hear.
What’s the next sad story to unfold in Wisconsin?
Stay tuned in 5 years time…


I’m stupified they are even considering penalizing Dustin, if anything it is Ground Under Repair.

Common sense would be to play everything inside the ropes as bunkers and every “bunker” that is outside the ropes as waste areas.

PGA of America rules guys have one tournament a year on stage, you can’t be the best under the gun once a year. Martin Kaymer congrats to U!

In crisis managemt never good to employ the “cover my ass” strategy as PGA seems to be doing. Never works. Admit set up was wrong & move on


Gutted for Dustin shocking rule, 900+ bunkers and probably only 100 rakes I don’t get it, sorry Dustin you deserved to be in the playoff

I didn’t see any notice in the locker room but I wasn’t looking for them. They may have been there.


Count me as a player that didn’t know all sand was a bunker this week. 18 is a bad hole on a great golf course. Sad that it happened to DJ.


18 at Whistling Straits one of worst par 4s in golf… Along with 12 at Bethpage


Wow! The PGA of America just became the biggest joke in golf history! That could be the worst ruling I hv ever heard of in my entire life!


Congrats to Martin & Craig. Well done @bubbawaston on a great week and making the US RC team. Commiserations to Dustin.

@JakeTrout (Peter Jacobsen):

Whistling Straits is an fantastic course but MUST rethink the bunkers out of play. Or manage crowd better. It shouldn’t cost anyone a major.

@IDrive397 He was in the heat of the moment. Plus that far off f’way, a ‘bunker’ doesn’t compute. DJ handled it like a champ.


Fell asleep last night,missed out on drama.There was always going to be issues with those traps,massive shame it was those circumstances.


So that means the sandy cart paths that I saw & other players hit off of are also considered bunkers?!

So, a sandbar off Lake Michigan considered a bunker too if that’s what they’re sayin–


This is an unfortunate finish to the PGA! Just goes to show that you should never have this many bunkers on one golf course.

That is ridiculous, since when can a 1000 spectators walk through a bunker? Stupid!


As Nick mentioned, not a whole lotta players read the rules sheet – and it was certainly a mistake that couldve happened to any of us


@wingoz Dustin handled it with dignity. Rule sheet addressed issue.Caddy and walking official could have helped. Should of had waste bunkers


Proud of the way my boy DJ handled the ruling…I think a bunker that fans have been standing in all day should be considered a waste bunker

No telling what I would have done…from the tv coverage I never once thought of him being in a bunker just thought it was a bare spot

So, there you have it. I’m sure I’m missing some, but that’s enough to warrant a change by the time 2015 rolls around — even though the PGA of America says it doesn’t plan on making changes to the limitless pointless bunkers when the PGA Championship returns in five years. For now.

And this is purely speculative, but I’m willing to bet that there are other players that made the same mistake, but just weren’t caught on camera because they weren’t in the final group.