124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Four hours, three minutes, two players

August 12, 2009

The controversy continues unabated, fueled largely by Tiger Woods' continuing criticism of rules official John Paramor for informing Woods and playing partner Padraig Harrington that they were out of position on the 16th tee box in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Sunday.

Just a reminder: Their round took four hours, three minutes. Playing as a twosome.

Here's Stewart Cink, speaking on Tuesday in defense of the rules officials:

"Certainly if a group's behind, whether it's the first group or the last group, and the rules are pretty clear on this, usually they'll issue a warning and say you guys need to catch up or we'll have to put you on the clock and give you a two-hole window to close the gap.

"And every player out here will be on the clock at some point. You have to have a strategy. You know, it's no different than your strategy for playing the 11th hole here: Are you going to lay up or try to bomb it down by the green? If you get put on the clock, you have to have a strategy for that, too, and how you're going to handle yourself is part of that strategy.

"So when you're under the stress of the final group and it's two heavyweights going at it like last week, that certainly does add a different type of stress to the ball game. But it's a test, just like any of the other obstacles you face on the golf course.

"And I talked to the rules officials today, the ones that were involved, and one of the guys said they have to look the rest of the field in the eye. If they didn't put them on the clock, what if the field came up and said, 'Hey those guys were a hole and a half behind, how come they weren't timed?' They have to be ready for that.

"The rule is clear on that. They were put on the clock because they were a little behind. Who knows if it affected Harrington on 16 or not."

-- John Strege