McGinley, McIlroy slam USGA over Johnson ruling
Former victorious European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley slammed the USGA over their handling of an incident involving Dustin Johnson at the fifth hole on the final day of the U.S. Open at Oakmont.
Johnson rolled in a birdie putt at the last in a round of 68 for a five under par tally but was later deemed to have allowed his ball to be moved at address and as such, was handed a one stroke penalty in a round of 69 for an official four under par total.
Paul McGinley (Credit: www.golffile.ie)
McGinley, commentating for SKY Sports, did not hold back in his severe criticism of the USGA.
“We need some guidance from the ruling bodies, not confusion,” said Paul McGinley.
“We haven’t heard the full story on what happened out there and the USGA have to explain why Dustin Johnson was given a one-stroke penalty. They owe it to the game.”
“It was quite clear what Lee Westwood said. We heard was the referee said. It was done and dusted on the 5th green and why did the USGA get involved. Why did they get involved and why did it take another seven holed to bring it to his notice.”
“Clarity and clearness was needed and it wasn’t know. Dustin and everyone needed to needed know where they stood. There was not clarity and too much confusion and the game of golf did not deserve it.”
“I am just full of admiration for Dustin Johnson not only the he way he played but the way he handled himself after the extra pressure put on his shoulders.”
Former US Open winner Rory McIlroy got on to Twitter to also slam the USGA.
“This isn’t right for anyone on that golf course. If it was me I wouldn’t hit another shot until this farce was rectified.”
USGA Rules official Jeff Hall was later interviewed by SKY Sports and McGinley was again not happy with Hall’s explanation of the ruling.
Hall said: “The ball moved and his (Johnson) actions near the ball, and we evaluated the video and discussed it with Dustin, and we were comfortable that those actions caused the golf ball to move and that’s why he was penalised by one stroke.”
Hall indicated it had taken to Johnson was on the 12th tee to evaluate what actions we were going take, and after a conversation with Johnson.
Hall added: “It was quite apparent after we started into the discussion with Dustin on the 12th tee that is was going to be a protracted discussion and we said to him ‘listen, let’s have you take a look at the video and let him see what we saw when his round is over as there was a possibility there was going to be a penalty stroke.”
Hall indicated, that having it pointed out to him the TV compound was close to the 13th tee why did they not consider asking Johnson to head then to look at video, and in an action that would allow Johnson to know where he stood in relation to the event, as well as his rivals.
“We opted not to do that but we did inform everyone else still out on the golf course before Dustin had finished the 12th hole,” said Hall.
McGinley fired back following Hall’s comments saying: “He’s a lawyer just going round in circles and he didn’t answer the question,” said McGinley clearly sounding very passionate.
“If Dustin had of touched the ball, the ball would have gone backwards. That to me that was not a satisfactory explanation. My understanding of the rules is that you don’t address the ball till you you club behind the ball.”
“Practice strokes is not deemed to be addressing the ball and again there is still confusion. There is still no clarity and there is a lot of lawyer talk there in quoting rules and all that and it just needs a human being to come out and give a clear explanation.”
“And if not, then don’t let it ever happen again. We can’t let his happen again in the heat of competition in one of golf’s premier tournaments, and in front of a worldwide audience of hundreds of millions.”
“Sport thrives around competition and clarity of rules and scoreboards.”