Around the wider world of golf: Sei Young Kim won the Meijer LPGA Classic on the LPGA; Jackie Stoelting won the Four Winds Invitational on the Symetra Tour; Nanna Koerstz Madsen won the Tipsport Golf Masters on the LET; Scott Hend won the Queen’s Cup on the Asian Tour; James Driscoll won the Nashville Golf Open on the Web.com Tour; Scott Gregory won The 121st Amateur Championship; and Jiyai Shin three-peated at the Nichirei Ladies on the JLPGA (bangkokbobby has details).
And although it wasn't golf, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Playoffs. They broke a 52-year win drought for the city; the last team to win had been the Cleveland Browns, their NFL team, way back in 1964. Congrats, all you Clevelanites!
When I picked DJ to win last week, I didn't expect it to go down this way. Not with another rules controversy. But perhaps this is the best way it could have happened, since it just proved how tough Dustin Johnson has become as a player.
DJ's problems winning his first major have been well-documented, perhaps the most famous being the club he grounded in a bunker at the 2010 PGA Championship -- a bunker that most players didn't even think should have been a bunker. The penalty knocked him out of a playoff. But you could argue he should have known better that time -- after all, the local rules sheet (which DJ admitted he didn't look at) said EVERY sandy area on the course was a bunker.
But this one... When DJ called for a ruling on the 5th green after his ball moved, he was told there was no penalty and to play on. (If he had been deemed to move the ball, he would have had to replace it.) Then, on the 12th tee, USGA officials told him the incident was under review, but couldn't tell him if it was a rules infraction or not. He -- and the rest of the field -- finished the tournament without even knowing what score was leading the tournament.
Fortunately for DJ, he stepped up to the plate and made one of the only two birdies posted on the 18th hole all day. He drilled a drive, tucked his second a mere three feet from the hole and drained the putt. Even with the penalty he eventually received, he still won by three shots.
DJ got the monkey off his back -- and joked about doing so with the media -- but the USGA probably won't be so lucky. The player response on social media was quick and merciless, uniformly condemning the USGA for a "ridiculous" (McIlroy) decision that was "a joke" (Spieth). According to Tim Rosaforte on GC's Live from... afterward, even the legends of the game blasted them. Like this quote from the ESPN article that I took the photo above from:
Jack Nicklaus, who was on site as an honorary chairman of the U.S. Open, congratulated Johnson as he walked off the green, telling ESPN.com later that "I told [him] what you did with all that crap that they threw at you was pretty good."I don't think this is going to go away. After all, when you are the arbiter of rules and you not only reverse a decision mid-round but refuse to give a definitive decision at all, especially when it means nobody knows what the lead is, you cause people to question your right to be an authority at all!
For DJ, however, this is all water under the bridge. (Or is it balls moving on the green?) At any rate, DJ gets his first major championship and ends much of the debate over his ability to close the big ones. And it also gives him a major Limerick Summary to add to his running total of regular ones.
Was he leading by two or by one?The photo came from this page at espn.com.
DJ said, “Either way, this gets done!
Let the USGA
Try to mess up my day—
Soon they’ll KNOW I’ve got this major won!”