Johnson captures first major despite bumbling USGA
Dustin Johnson has ended his Major Championship victory after the bumbling behaviour of the USGA in the handling of the final of the US Open.
Johnson overcame being informed on the 12th tee of an incident on the 5th green to win by three shots with a four under par tally at Oakmont.Dustin Johnson (Credit: USGA)
European Ryder Cup captains, Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinley, alongside the game’s best, have slammed the manners of the USGA who eventually handed Johnson a penalty but bizarrely not until after his round.
“We need some guidance from the ruling bodies, not confusion,” said Paul McGinley.
Johnson was preparing to hit a putt on the fifth green when the ball moved. He backed away and summoned a rules official. Johnson informed him that he had done nothing to cause it to move, no penalty was assessed, and the matter appeared settled.
Then on the 12th tee, USGA officials informed Johnson that they would re-assess the issue after the round, creating a situation where he, and his closest competitors, could not be sure where they stood in pursuit of a US Open championship.
Johnson was assessed a one-stroke penalty after his round, but he had rendered the ruling moot by taking at least a two-stroke lead into the last hole, then closing like the major champion he has long been projected to be.
He shot a one-under par 69 that included an 18th-hole birdie and won by three over Jim Furyk, Scott Piercy and Shane Lowry.
Johnson, 31, came into the final round trailing Lowry by four shots, but erased the deficit and took the lead with a birdie at nine, followed by a Lowry bogey.
For most of the back nine, his lead was two, giving him a cushion in the event that the USGA decided to rule against him. By the time he reached the 18th hole, his lead was three.
The victory ended an infamous number of close calls for Johnson, 31, who finished T4 and T2 in the last two U.S. Opens, T6 and T4 in the last two Masters, and T7 in last year’s PGA Championship. He also has a T2 in the British Open.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, closed with a five-over par 75 and finished tied for 37th.
World number one, Jason Day, had his chances over the final round after an eagle and birdie at the 12th and 13th holes.
However a miscued drive at the par 4 17th left him with a double bogey and then a bogey at the 18th left him in a four-way tie for 8th and six shots off the pace.
“It wasn’t too disappointing, really. 17 is just, I mean, I’m sitting there at 1 under. Dustin Johnson is 4 under. I know I’ve got to push,” said Day.
“You’ve got a 3 wood and may have, if I hit a great one, it may have just kind of been a little short. But I had to hit a really good one to get, because, obviously, it’s a long way up that hill to the front of the green.”
“Unfortunately, just hit it fat and obviously, the rest was history from there. Kind of took the wind out of my sails.”
“I had to push. You can’t win tournaments just, you know, really laying up there. I mean, I had the opportunity to go out there and give myself the shot at winning the tournament. Tried to hit a good shot there. Hit a great drive. Unfortunately, didn’t work out.”
A final round 69 saw Marc Leishman join Adam Scott to close the tournament in equal 18th. Scott could not get his round going and dropped four shots in six holes across the back nine holes at the Oakmont Country Club.
Cameron Smith was the only other Aussie to play the weekend but any thoughts of recreating the heroics of last year were erased with a final round 79, which included 7 bogeys and a double bogey at par 4 second hole.
Geoff Ogilvy, Aron Price and Steve Bowditch missed the cut line at 6-over.
More to come….