Tag Archives: Bunker-gate

Jul
25
2012
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

Kiawah's Ocean Course in '07 at the Senior PGA

Okay, I’m already sick of the above-mentioned Dustin Johnson crack in connection to the PGA of America’s “Condition of Play” announcement for the 94th PGA Championship. Of course, the DJ-bunker joke is referencing his unfortunate mistake in 2010 at Whistling Straits, where it turned out he grounded his club in the whole “bunker-not-a-bunker” debacle, which caused him to miss out on a playoff with Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer.

Well, the 156-player field won’t have to worry about distinguishing between bunker and waste areas at this year’s championship at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C. (held August 6-12) — all sandy areas will be regarded as “through the green” and not designated as “bunkers” in the season’s final major.

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Aug
10
2011
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

DJ knows his bunkers at AAC

Just short of a year ago, Dustin Johnson made a costly blunder on the 72nd hole at Whistling Straits in the infamous bunker-not-a-bunker incident at the ’10 PGA Championship. He incurred a two-shot penalty to miss joining Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson in a playoff for the major title, but as we’ve learned, DJ isn’t one to harp on mistakes from the past.

He also won’t be reading the local rules sheet.

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Aug
18
2010
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

Photographer (and my friend) Allan Henry of Golf Chronicles / US Presswire was kneeling four to five feet behind Dustin Johnson when he grounded his club on the 18th hole. Allan was so close to DJ that he was almost hit by DJ’s club in one of his practice swings. When he first arrived at the scene, he said it was “pretty nuts” with the amount of people that had congregated in the area.

Initially, he set up where the other photographers had — looking toward Johnson — but he knew there were something like 15 photographers following the group, so he figured he’d try to get behind the ball. A few polite Wisconsinites moved to make room for him. But as he was walking toward the ball, he instinctively snapped a few shots of it lying on the ground. Like this one.

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Aug
17
2010

This “incredibly compelling sports highlight” — the CBS’s coverage of the ruling to Dustin Johnson’s faux pas — is a telling example of  just how stupid the debacle (and golf) looked to non-golf sports fans. Really stupid. The 92nd PGA Championship will be remembered as the major when the perfect storm produced a modern American farce. And golf lost even more credibility as a sport. Which is really the last thing it needs right now. Even though no one will care by Wednesday morning, in the long run, I’m not sure golf will recover as quickly as Dustin Johnson will.

Aug
17
2010

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.”

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Aug
17
2010

Another person who got screwed in Bunker-Gate is Martin Kaymer. Instead of talking about this classy, deserving, talented (and cute) young champion, who is probably going to win the most majors out of the three that should have been in the playoff, it’s inevitable that Dustin Johnson has been the bigger story. We should be raving about that clutch 15-footer for birdie Kaymer drained on the 72nd hole to get in the playoff.

I’m sure he’s doing just fine, though, and wouldn’t trade the Wanamaker Trophy for massive headlines. Once again, congrats to Kaymer.

I wonder if you ask non-golf fans who won the PGA Championship, they wouldn’t know. But they would know something about Dustin Johnson, who has practically become a household name. Silver lining!

Anyway, below are some great pictures — courtesy of Kyle Auclair from insidetheropes.com —  from the final round at the PGA Championship where Dustin Johnson-got-screwed-because-of-some-stupid-bunker. I still find the shots of DJ hitting the most-famous-approach-ever-on-the-72nd-hole mind-blowing.  (Click on the photo to enlarge.) Enjoy!

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Aug
17
2010
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

I think we’ve all agreed that Dustin Johnson should take the most blame for his mistake, but this whole situation just hasn’t sat well with me. As a former competitive golfer, I’ve been playing the above YouTube video (via Geoff Shackelford) repeatedly and wondering what I would have done. Did I read the local rules? Well, the officials usually shoved them down our throats, so I’d at least skim them. But it was usually stuff about the flower beds, etc, and I’d keep a copy in my bag to refer to if needed (which wasn’t often). When it comes to waste bunkers, I would definitely double-check and sometimes ask my playing partners or a rules official for clarification.

Would I have grounded my club in DJ’s situation? I don’t know. I’ve never been on the 72nd hole at a major championship with the lead. But I will say that I probably wouldn’t have bothered calling a rules official if I didn’t think it looked like a bunker. Okay, it kind of looked like sand, but there were also patches of grass mixed in the sand. That’s the main issue here — if a player can’t tell he’s in a bunker, then something’s very, very wrong.

Unfortunately, it was like a perfect storm of everything that could have gone wrong in the situation.

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Aug
17
2010
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.

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