HAVEN, WIS. -- It was a busy day for the rules officials during the final round of the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Before the brouhaha over Dustin Johnson's penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole, costing him a berth in the playoff with Bubba Watson and winner Martin Kaymer, there was an even stranger rules question that could have resulted in the disqualification of Jim Furyk.
Furyk was marking his ball on the third green after a 50-foot birdie putt when he noticed that there was a piece of round metal adhered to the shaft of his Scott Cameron Studio Select putter. His first instinct was to suspect that one of the two removable weights on the sole of the putter had come loose. Instead, it was a magnet that had somehow become dislodged from his putter cover and found its way onto the club. He immediately called over a rules official, and figured it would result in a two-shot penalty for having an attachment on his club, which is a breach of Appendix II in the Rules of Golf.
"I told the official, 'One, I can't explain how it got on the shaft. Two I can't imagine it was on the shaft when I hit the putt because I would have noticed it.' But I had no idea how it got there," Furyk said. "I was telling him as much information as I knew."
Furyk, who started the day eight-under par and five behind leader Nick Watney, managed to birdie the sixth and seventh holes to climb within one of the lead held by Kaymer, but as the holes dragged on without word of his fate, he grew frustrated. And then he got angry at the turn, and took out his frustration on rules official Mark Wilson.
"I lit a little fire under his rear end and kind of lost my cool," Furyk said. "I lost my head on the way to the 10th tee because of our conversation. I wasn't happy with something he said. He was buying himself time, and the reason he was buying himself time was because it wasn't a two-shot penalty. It was either no penalty or DQ. Basically, he told me later, he was trying to figure out the rules, but he wasn't sure that I wanted to know that it was a disqualification instead of a penalty, and he was stuck. We talked later about how he handled it. But I let it bother me way too much. I lost my cool, and it affected the way I played the 10th and 11th holes. It really affected the outcome of the tournament for me."
Furyk, 40, bogeyed 8, 9 and 10 and then double-bogeyed the 11th on the way to an inward 41 and closing 77. It was after his second shot that he found out from Wilson that he would not incur any penalty. But it was too late. Furyk finished at three-under 285 and T-24.
"I have a way of attracting some goofy weird strange situations throughout my career," said Furyk, who was penalized last year at the Barclays for having 15 clubs in his bag. "It wasn't my fault, it wasn't my caddie's fault. We did nothing wrong. What is my fault is I let it affect my attitude and how I played, and I'm disappointed in how I handled it."
-- *Dave Shedloski