My latest Sympatico column is now online. Interestingly, when I went to Carnoustie in 2003, people were still having their pictures taken standing in the creek Jean Van De Velde waded into without his socks. Wonder if Johnson’s bunker will have the same mystique?
Check it out here, and here’s the teaser:
It is the most discussed fumble in a major championship since Jean took off his socks and waded into the burn at Carnoustie and is an example of all that is good and bad about the sometimes confounding game of golf.
On Sunday American Dustin Johnson found himself on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits with a good chance at winning the PGA Championship. Needing a par to take the title outright, he hit a wild tee shot that ended up high into a throng of spectators right of the fairway. After locating the ball sitting pretty on a patch of hard-pan dirt, Johnson hit it short of the green, chipped on and failed to get up and down. Instead of winning, he thought he was headed for a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
At least that’s how it appeared. Instead a rules official told Johnson the packed sand where spectators were standing only moments before was actually one of almost 1,000 bunkers on the course. Johnson was told he’d grounded his club in the hazard, was given a two-stroke penalty and found himself sitting on the sidelines while Kaymer beat Watson in a three-hole playoff. He’d finish in third place.
Johnson’s mishap has led to a repeat of Jean Van De Velde’s disaster at Carnoustie during the British Open in 1999. Like Van De Velde’s meltdown overshadowed Paul Lawrie’s win, hardly anyone is discussing Kaymer’s fine play en route to his victory. All that’s being discussed is Johnson’s rules debacle.