Dustin Johnson, so often the nearly man in major tournaments, finally broke his duck in this year’s US open, which was certainly an eventful affair. An event that was hit by very poor weather descended into potential farce when “ballgate” happened on the fifth hole. While lining up his put Don Johnson’s ball moved. The question was, did that movement occur naturally or due to the actions of Mr Johnson. If caused by the golfer, penalty strokes would be applied?
Initially Dustin was cleared of any wrongdoing but was then told (at the 12th) that he might have a case to answer but it would not be resolved until after the finish of the round. Hence, he had to complete the last seven holes with no practical idea as to what score he would need to shoot to win. Initially, he was rattled by the situation and played some loose shots. However, as the opposition, significantly Sean Lowry, melted away, Dustin recovered and finished with a magnificent birdie on the 18th to win by 4 shots, subsequently reduced to 3 after the application of the 5th green putting penalty.
Congratulations then to Dustin Johnson for not only winning but keeping his composure under intolerable circumstances. The powers that be will need to take a long hard look at themselves regarding the way this matter was handled. With the seemingly relentless pursuit in the US for ever-faster greens, the potential for ball-rolling incidents is likely to increase. Surely it is possible to institute a protocol whereby such incidents can be reviewed and decided upon immediately rather than hang like a sword of Damocles over the perpetrator’s head?
On to this week and the US Tour event is the Quicken Loans National at the Congressional CC, Bethesda. Rickie Fowler at 14/1 heads the betting in a very open field for this valuable tournament, which carries a purse of $6.9m.
The European Tour is off to Germany for the BMW International, which takes place at Golf Club Gut Larchenhof in Pulheim. The bookmakers make this pretty much a straight fight between Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson (second in this event last year when held at Munich) and Danny Willett with all three trading around the 9/1 mark with the remainder of the field available at around 25s or greater.