Martin Kaymer Wins the 2010 PGA Championship

Honestly, I’m not even sure how you recap the 2010 PGA Championship. This will go down as one of the strangest endings to not just a major championship, but a PGA Tour event in golf history. Yes, Martin Kaymer did win his first-ever major by defeating Bubba Watson in a playoff. It’s just unfortunate that he’s not going to get the celebration and recognition that he deserves, because all of the talk surrounding this event is going to focus squarely on the PGA’s questionable ruling against Dustin Johnson on the 18th hole.

Let’s just get right to it. Johnson had this thing won. He made a huge birdie putt on 17 to take the one-shot lead over the rest of the field, and you sort of felt like he had the momentum going. But then his drive on 18 went into another area code, and he missed what looked like a rather simple putt for the win.

Then came the bombshell.

Could Johnson be assessed a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker? Why yes, he could according to the PGA of America. But the question 99.9% of the viewing audience were trying to figure out was where exactly what this so-called “bunker”?

I still have no idea, but supposedly this spot where this so-called “bunker” was located was a spot that had about a thousand fans standing on it at some point during this tournament. Funny, because I can’t recall the last time I saw Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson hitting out of a bunker…..with fans standing right beside them.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no rules guru. But this one is hard to figure out. The PGA says that the rules sheets handed out to players clearly explained that the areas such as the one Johnson hit out of on 18 would be ruled as bunkers. So if that’s the case, then well, maybe we can accept that at some point. But for now, it’s hard to accept that Johnson just got screwed out of a major championship because of a ruling that many feel to be the wrong ruling.

This is what professional golfers play for. A chance to win a major, and go down in history among the elite that have done just that. Chances like the one that Johnson got don’t come around that often. This is different from Johnson’s performance at the U.S. Open this year, where it was an entire round that cost him a chance at a major. This time around, the tournament was his for the taking on the final hole.

You can say that had he never hit the wayward tee shot, he wouldn’t have put himself in this position. And had Nick Watney not had a final round meltdown, maybe Johnson would have never been in contention when he hit that shot. And had Tiger Woods not had the year he’s had, maybe he would have had a 10-shot lead, and Johnson wouldn’t have had a chance. You get the point.

Sure, we can just leave as simple as saying that had he not his the shot, this wouldn’t have mattered. And sure, he could have lost the playoff. But that’s too easy to leave it at that. It did happen, and it’s a shame that it did.

This is just my initial reaction. Certainly more thoughts to come on this wild finish at Whistling Straits.

But for now, what are your thoughts on the finish? Did Johnson get robbed? Or is it his own fault for not reading the rules? I think you know where I stand right now.

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Topics: 2010 Pga Championship, Dustin Johnson, Dustin Johnson 18th Hole, Dustin Johnson Got Screwed, Dustin Johnson Ruling, Golf, Golf Bunker, Golf Tainted Ending, Martin Kaymer, Nick Watney, PGA Championship, PGA Final Round, Pga Rules, Pga Ruling, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Whistling Straits

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  • http://PGN Margaret Robinson

    Where in the world were the PGA officials who were in abundance on the golf course? This was the last group; Johnson was playing the last hole for the win. I would be willing to bet that some official who was right there did not recognize the area as a sand trap. Terrible decision. I think it will be years before that golf course has another major tournament.

  • Blake Lovell

    Agree with you 100%, Margaret. I just finished a more lengthy post here where I discuss that: http://progolfnow.com/2010/08/15/yeah-this-was-exactly-what-the-pga-tour-needed-right-now/

    I simply don’t know how there’s not a rules official standing right there beside him. Especially considering how far right he hit the ball. At no point did anyone (including the rules official I’m guess) consider this as a potential bunker. I respect David Feherty more than anyone in the golf broadcasting business, and for him to completely deny that it was a bunker, that’s all I needed to hear.

    Just a completely disappointment for Johnson, and on a larger scale, a complete disappointment for the PGA Tour.

  • Matt

    Honestly, watching the tournament live I immediately said to myself “he just grounded his club in the bunker” and was surprised nothing else happened …. you could clearly see a lip in front of him to the right.
    In any case, you’re playing a shot and the ball lies on sand, you ought to at least ask yourself whether it’s just part of the course or an obstacle, he should have stopped and given it a thought.
    Finally , golf rules are clear and leave the committee with no choice, I do not agree that the presence of fans in the obstacle is of any relevance here.
    Last thought ….. i’m way more shocked about the 1968 ruling against De Vicenzo (everyone saw that he had played a birdie on 17 that day) than about this one. De Vicenzo never questioned the call, class act and a role model for Johnson.

    • Blake Lovell

      Thanks for the comment, Matt. And honestly, it’s hard to disagree with you here.

      From my own personal standpoint, I was probably too caught up in the fact that Johnson had hit the tee shot so far right, that I didn’t even think about there being a possibility of him being in a bunker, considering where the ball ended up.

      And while I’m not taking any blame away from Johnson either, I do think a rules official needed to be there for this particular situation. I think it’s just a cop out for the PGA to say that he couldn’t get to Johnson because of the crowd. If it is considered a bunker and not a “waste area”, and can easily be misinterpreted, a PGA tour official simply has to be there in this situation. I just think he has to be.

      Agreed that the De Vicenzo situation at the 1968 Masters was more of a shocker, and something that was simply ridiculous when you look at the nature of the ruling. This one is gonna be a hot topic for quite a while as well though.

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