News & ToursJune 10, 2014

At Pinehurst, a loaded question: "Is this a bunker?"

By John Huggan

PINEHURST, N.C. -- The players weren't the only group indulging in reconnaissance trips around Pinehurst No. 2 Tuesday morning. Also out and about were rules officials John Paramor of the European Tour and the R&A's David Rickman. And it wasn't long before the pair was involved in detailed discussion with a four-ball consisting of Scotland's Chris Doak, Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald and Keegan Bradley. The subject at hand was predictable and one that will surely be a big part of the upcoming U.S. Open: Off the fairway, what is a bunker and what is "waste area"? The bunker short and right of the second green provided an ideal example of where confusion -- like that which Johnson famously confronted on the 72nd hole of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits -- can set in. While the vast majority of the bunker's outline is easily identifiable, there is maybe a six-foot wide section at its rear where the margin of the hazard is less clear-cut.

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