WATCH: The USGA official who made the Dustin Johnson decision explains himself

What an absolute crock of shit from the one of golf’s governing bodies. Along with The Royal and Ancient, the USGA are tasked with interpreting the rules of golf – a job they cocked up with extraordinary ineptitude on Sunday.

Dustin’s behaviour was as honest as a major Sunday is long and we should all appreciate his decision to immediately retreat from the putt. What followed was utterly disgraceful. DJ spent the remainder of his round in the dark as he waited for the USGA to make a decision on whether his ball had moved on “address”.

The USGA confused every sports fan whilst a group of officious jobsworths pondered over a ridiculous decision. Many professional golfers posted their disgust on Twitter and it was clear to me that there’s an entrenched dissatisfaction with the USGA amongst the professional fraternity. It was as if this incident was the manifestation of successive failings from the USGA and boy did the players let them know about it.
The final decision to enforce the one shot penalty capped off an embarrassing day for the USGA. If you have the attention span and want to learn why DJ incurred the penalty see below.

From Rule 18-2/0.5, titled “Weight of Evidence Standard for Determining Whether Player Caused His Ball To Move.”

“If the weight of the evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the player caused the ball to move, even though that conclusion is not free from doubt, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 and the ball must be replaced. Otherwise, the player incurs no penalty and the ball is played as it lies unless some other rule applies (e.g. Re 18-1).”

The USGA relied on this example to make their final decision:

A player’s ball lies on a flat portion of the putting green on a day with light winds. The player addresses the ball and the ball immediately moves. Under these circumstances, it is more likely than not that the act of addressing the ball caused the ball to move.”

If there’s one thing watching American sport has taught me it’s that you all demand complete transparency with rulings. You want to know why a decision has been made and you insist on a justified response from a sport’s judiciary. This is a great thing because it insists on a situation where people are held to account. Luckily Dustin took everything in his stride and continued his imperious round. As Shane Lowry fell away DJ kept getting better and better, his final shot into the 18th green was the culmination of a beautiful round of golf that he was forced to play.


Who do you think deserves Player of the Week from the US Open? It doesn’t have to be the winner. Out of the athletes listed below, who do you think stood out from the rest because of an insane shot, huge putt or their overall style as they played the tournament? Cast your vote.

Dustin Johnson

Jim Furyk

Scott Piercy

Shane Lowry

Sergio Garcia

Branden Grace

Kevin Na

Zach Johnson

Jason Dufner

Daniel Summerhays

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