It simply doesn't make sense to a lot of you, this ruling at the PGA that Dustin Johnson should be penalized for grounding his club in an area of the course where fans were allowed to walk, an area that nonetheless was designated as a "hazard." Your letters, to both Golf Digest and Golf World, keep on coming, mostly in fume mode. The whole world appears to have taken note of the controversy. The satirical site, the Onion, today published weighed in. Check out their list of "obscure rules"
brought to light by the PGA ruling. My favorites:
A three-shot penalty will be issued to anyone caught enjoying themselves.
Your little sister gets to pick the red ball if you got to play with the red ball last time.
On to your letters:
I have played golf for 65 years on 178 golf courses in 16 states. I was a full time caddy for 4 years. The so-called bunker that Deron Johnson played from was a dirt patch, not a sand trap or bunker as they are now called. Their decision stands right up there with that of Craig Stadler kneeling on his towel to keep his slacks dry and being called for I believe improving his stance along with Paul Azinger and the penalty he was assessed for something involving his stance in a rocky brook. Why can't the officials simply use just an iota of common sense when that type of incident occurs. They are similar to the learned monks of antiquity trying to decide how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
Harvey Hinds, Edgartown, MA
The PGA highlighted two very big problems with today's tour players. First: their knowledge of the rules of golf is abysmal. In my opinion, if your playing for that much money, you should at least be cognizant with the rules your playing under. Second, the grip it and rip it, see how far you can hit it mentality, may be wonderful for stroke play but means nothing in match play. To wit: if Bubba Watson had hit a good layup it would have put tremendous pressure on his opponent and at the worst he would have wound up with a half and continued the match.
Robert B Watt. Tenafly, NJ
What a contrast between the third and fourth majors of the year. The bunkering at the Old Course at St. Andrews is original, quirky and authentic. The traps at Whistling Straits by contrast seem to be overdone and gimmicky. The fact that the PGA had to plaster rules on the walls of the bathroom stalls should have been a tip off that the bunkers outside the ropes were a contrivance that could not be "papered over." Is there a course on the Tour, never mind a major host site, where such ambiguity exists regarding the definition of a sand trap? Shame on the PGA!
Patrick J. Walsh, Vero Beach, FL
We have seen many sport athletes lose their temper. What we saw at the 92nd PGA tournament was unbelievable. This young man decided not to lose his temper, not to yell or throw anything or swear because the entire tournament had been taken away from him, or because his name would not be engraved on the PGA trophy, or he would not be part of history. No. He decided to act like a complete mench, a man. We can not tell you how impressed we were of Dustin Johnson, who we had seen earlier that morning and had wished good luck--a luck that was refused to adhere to him on the 18th hole. Nick Watney, who had been playing with him during that last round, said it best: "We just play." We play honestly.
As far as we are concerned, this tournament was stolen.
Deborah and Paul Max Rubenstein, Highland Park, IL