$h*! The PGA Says

The disqualification of Dustin Johnson in the 2010 PGA Championship this evening is just ridiculous.  Just absurd and a darn shame.

I am sometimes golfer, and I understand the rules.  I understand how the rules were applied in this instance.  A player cannot (allow the club to touch the) ground in a sand trap.  If the player touches his club to the ground in a sand trap in any context, it is a two-shot penalty.

Does This Look Like a Sand Trap?

Spectators Standing Around the "Sand Trap"

Hmm. Aren't Bunkers Usually Raked?

My problem is the way this rule was applied this afternoon.  It was applied as black-and-white, with zero interpretation.  Mark Wilson, the gentleman from the PGA whom Peter Kostis of CBS interviewed, said, and I paraphrase, “We told all the players that there were a lot of bunkers out there that would be trampled and probably wouldn’t look like bunkers, but they are bunkers.  Dustin read the rules, and he should have known.”

Dustin Johnson really had no choice but to comply with the rules.  He said in an interview with David Feherty that he never once thought it was a bunker (and Feherty agreed).  And I don’t believe anyone watching did either.

There was no flexibility and no consideration of the reality of the situation.  That’s where I think the PGA is full of you-know-what.

Giving Johnson the two-shot penalty is similar to:

  • Giving someone a parking ticket when the “No Parking” sign is missing from the spot they parked.
  • Failing a student on a test for using a pen instead of a pencil, or vice versa, when it’s not a scantron, and the answers were legible.
  • Not allowing a high school player to play in a Friday night game when they did not meet the Friday school attendance requirement due to a family emergency.
  • Not giving someone a reduced sales price because they arrive an hour after the sale ended due to obvious weather conditions that limited driving.
  • Punishing a 14-year-old for driving, when it was the only option to get an injured person to the hospital.

The PGA should be embarrassed for its lack of flexibility.  “We warned you” is their answer.  I guess the county has warned me to watched out for No Parking zones, but it’s fair of me to expect those zones to be well marked.

Congrats to Martin Kaymer for his victory.  In the end, however, this tournament will be known for Johnson’s penalty and, I hope,  for a liberalization and newly applied flexibility of golf’s rules to square them up with reality.


One Response to $h*! The PGA Says

  1. Pingback: The Morning Commute: August 16, 2010 « The Jersey Boys

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