Did Dustin Johnson Get Hosed At The PGA Championship?

dustin johnson grounds club

The 2010 PGA Championship will forever be remembered for its rather unusual finish, which saw Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson battle it out in a playoff.  However, it is not the fact that these two golfers needed a playoff to decide the winner that will make this final major tournament of the season memorable.  Instead, it will be the ruling that prevented a third golfer, Dustin Johnson, from taking part in the playoff that will linger in the minds of most golf fans for years to come.

With Johnson needing only a par on the final hole of the tournament to earn his first Major victory, he would have to settle for a 5-shot boogie, and as a result, a three-way playoff.  Or at least that is what he initially believed.  But soon after he tapped in his final putt on the 18th green, course officials informed Johnson that his tee shot had found a bunker, and prior to hitting his second shot from the sand, Johnson grounded his club in the hazard, which is a two-stroke penalty according to PGA rules.

In all fairness to Johnson, several spectators had been standing in the hazard prior to his shot, making it tough to tell whether it was in fact a bunker.  And to make matters worse, Whistling Straits golf course is home to over 1000 bunkers, many of which couldn’t even be identified by the course architect himself, Pete Dye.

The penalty dropped Johnson from a tie for the lead into fifth place, and Kaymer would eventually go on to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.  Here is a look at what Johnson and the analysts at ESPN had to say about the incident.

I can’t help but think that perhaps Johnson was lucky he did not make that par on the final hole, else the news of his error could have been that much more disappointing, and made things even more confusing.

However, the question still remains:  Did Dustin Johnson get hosed?

Tags: Bubba Watson, bunker, dustin johnson, Golf, martin kaymer, pga championship, Whistling Straits,