FanDuel - WFBC

August 15, 2010

Martin Kaymer Wins Wild P.G.A.: Kaymer won it in a 3-hole playoff over Bubba Watson by avoiding golfing disaster better than anyone else. Kaymer, the 25-year-old from Germany, seemed like the only one of the first-time major contenders who was not undone by nerves and swirling winds that appeared ready to tackle all who dared to win the tournament. Dustin Johnson needed only to par 18 to win, but sent his drive right of the fairway, his second shot into the rough over the green and after a great chip shot, missed a 5-foot putt that would have won it. It became worse when Johnson was ruled to have grounded his club on his second shot, which was out of a bunker. It was hard to tell it was a bunker because Johnson had hit so far into the crowd, the entire area was trampled down. The two-shot penalty knocked him out of the playoff and gave him a nightmare finish to match his United States Open flop.

posted by tommytrump to golf at 09:31 PM - 9 comments

Those technical rules that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with fair play annoy me.

posted by bperk at 11:03 PM on August 15

While I fully understand the rule, and agree that technically it was applied correctly, I do have issues with the situation. One, the PGA shouldn't allow hazards to be trampled on to this extent. Two, given that the particular hazard in question was so hard to distinguish, there should have been an official nearby to help clarify the situation. Johnson was in one of the last groups to finish, so there should have been an abundance of officials available by that point. Three, the rule is really in place to prevent a player from improving their lie in a bunker by grounding their club right behind the ball. Johnson didn't do that, and really didn't get a benefit from his actions.

Again, understand the rule, just think there should have been actions taken to avoid the situation.

posted by dviking at 12:42 AM on August 16

From this BBC article (which I cite as a source, not a good read): the PGA of America put a notice in the locker room all week to remind players that every patch of sand was to be treated as a bunker regardless of its location...

In my limited experience a "notice in the locker room" translates as a piece of paper on the wall plus a verbal reminder from the starter and every other official who gets within 10 yards of you until you're sick of hearing the damn rule. So if he's sticking to his claim that it just never occurred to him that he was in a bunker, he's either deaf, blind or stupid. Any decent golfer I know upon finding their ball in a sandy lie would be looking around to see if technically it's lying in a hazard. Sand under the ball equals danger, Will Robinson. Always. Regardless of what you've been told by the PGA about the local rules.

And I'd have to say he did gain an advantage from grounding the club in that situation; it's a lot easier to get settled over the ball if you're not having to hover the club in the air, especially when the nerves are jangling and especially when you're hitting a full shot (let alone a full 4-iron).

But I absolutely agree that if every patch of sandy ground is to be considered a hazard, then every patch of sandy ground also needs to be off-limits for the spectators. If that's not practicable, then certain patches need to be exempt for the week. And if doing one or other of those things is beyond your organisational skills (I'm looking at you, PGA of America), then you at least need to have a rules guy near enough to the sandy patch that lies anywhere in the driving zone on the final hole of a major that he can warn a player landing in it that it's a bunker.

I feel for Johnson, but I also sort of blame him, but not as much as I blame the PGA. The guy I really for is Kaymer. We should be talking about his win, as should the press, but the focus has been shifted.

[But really, I don't care all that much because today I have the day off and I'm going down to play the West Course at Wentworth!]

posted by JJ at 04:01 AM on August 16

What was odd was there were spectators standing in it as he was trying to play. I'm not sure I would have thought it was a hazard if I was playing in those conditions, either.

posted by cabuki at 05:27 AM on August 16

Nick Watney is quoted in today's paper as saying "Honestly, I don't know anyone that reads those sheets".

As to gaining an advantage from grounding his club, from the replays I've seen he grounds his club to the left of his ball in his pre-address routine. He doesn't appear to ground his club when he is actually over the ball, so he doesn't gain the advantage normally associated with grounding the club.

As I said, I understand the rule, and do think it was applied correctly, just think that at the given point of the event there should have been officials around to clarify the situation.

posted by dviking at 10:21 AM on August 16

Are fans normally allowed to stand in bunkers ?

posted by tommytrump at 12:34 PM on August 16

As to gaining an advantage from grounding his club, from the replays I've seen he grounds his club to the left of his ball in his pre-address routine. He doesn't appear to ground his club when he is actually over the ball, so he doesn't gain the advantage normally associated with grounding the club.

I think he grounds the club right before the back-swing. The camera won't tell you because of the angle (you're above the ball). He grounds the club because that's what you do on every shot that's not in a bunker. I don't know a golfer that doesn't do it.

Are fans normally allowed to stand in bunkers ?

I think the bunker issue is really only a problem on a few courses. Most of the championship courses have made allowances for fans in their layout, but some just haven't done it. So fans crowd a bit. St. Andrews is crowded in parts.

Add that this course famously has cosmetic bunkers of varying size and shape - placed essentially everywhere - then I can understand why fans would be there. The real question is - what the fuck was his tee shot doing there? Thing was way right. I should know.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:08 PM on August 16

The replay is from behind the ball, and the network kept showing the pre-address and then the address, and they highlited the spot to the left of the ball where he makes contact with the ground.

As to grounding the club before every shot, no, that is not correct, plenty of pro golfers only ground their club on shots when they intend to take a divot. On hard ground like what Johnson was hitting off of, he was intending to hit it clean, so he'd position his club in that manner. Many pros don't ground their drivers for the same reason.

Either way, once he grounded the club on his pre-address routine, it was over, the penalty is incurred at that point. I just don't see any effort by Johnson to improve his lie.

posted by dviking at 08:36 PM on August 16

I think the bunker issue is really only a problem on a few courses.

Yes, and they were playing one of the few courses where this very easily could be a problem. I understand the rule and the ruling and even think it was correct, but there's no way spectators should be standing in a bunker, period.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:38 PM on August 16

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