Here’s a photo of the bunker Dustin Johnson hit out of on 18th hole at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin yesterday:
(If it quacks like a bunker …)
Yes, the crowd covered the lip of the bunker for that shot but he was clearly standing in what was defined as a bunker in the USGA rule book and local rules. (Of course, Johnson yesterday didn’t have the luxury of that perspective.)
It was that bunker where Johnson grounded his club, effectively costing himself up to $1,079,167. After the golfer was penalized two strokes for his unfortunate action, Johnson was eliminated from a three-way playoff that led to Martin Kaymer claiming the Wanamaker Trophy.
Kaymer’s haul: $1.35 million. Johnson? $270,833.
As for Johnson’s dilemma on the 18th hole, the local rule states that blue dots were necessary to mark bunkers on the course. Though yesterday, there were no such colored markings around the area in question.
But with a lip like that, were blue dots really necessary? Do you really think Johnson or his caddy were completely unaware of what the crowd was standing in and around?
Look at the defined lip on Johnson’s left and the grade it traveled up where fans were sitting. Also consider that the huge bunker wasn’t an inordinate distance from the fairway.
How did Johnson’s caddy not know the area in advance?
The bigger issue is the PGA staging its Championship at Whistling Straits, as virtually the entire course could be considered a bunker/hazard upon which fans are standing or seated. It’s a logistic disaster if you’re going to enforce the rule the way the PGA claimed to all last week.
Last time I saw a lip that defined was …