Plenty of blame to go around in DJ's bunker blunder

I went to my first Major golf tournament yesterday at Whistling Straits
in Kohler, Wisconsin. And just like everything associated with the
tournament, everything about the whole event was Major, including the
Major controversy that helped define it.

By now anybody with a pulse has heard about Dustin Johnson’s bunker
blunder and most have weighed in with their opinion. To many, the fact
that a rule infraction cost him a chance at his first Major was a Major
injustice. To others, the fact that he didn’t know the rule was a Major
oversight on his part. What ever side of the fence your on, we can all
agree the incident had Major implications on the outcome of the

As for me, I’m having a hard time deciding which side of the fence I’m
DJ.jpgfalling on. I initially felt that a rule is a rule and let those who
don’t know or follow them suffer the consequences. That was the reporter
side of me that views things as being very black and white. The human
side of me says all of this could’ve been avoided. Had the PGA official
walking the course with the final group simply pointed out to Johnson
that his ball was in a bunker. Had he done that, an issue of Major
importance would’ve never happened. Sure, the official isn’t required to
give him a reminder but the course and the location of the ball are so
unique to normal situations he definitely could’ve made a special
accommodation just to avoid any possible confusion. Now that’s one Major

Those arguing that Johnson got a raw deal quickly point out that
although the bunkers (all 1,200 plus) at Whistling Straits are different
from those found at most other courses, the fact that fans were allowed
to walk through and set up in them in effectively wipes away the normal
rules of the game because that would never be allowed at most other
venues. Those that blame Johnson for not following the rules counter
with the fact that there was a special announcement made prior to the
start of the tournament that specified that all bunkers on the course,
whether they look like typical bunkers or not, will be played under
normal rules.

All of the players were given this rules update both attached to their
lockers and it was also posted on the mirrors in the clubhouse
restrooms. Johnson and some of the other players admitted that they
didn’t bother to read the update. You could argue the players
skipping the required reading is understandable. That’s what they have
caddies for right? You hire a good “looper” and give him 5 percent (and often times more) of
your winnings so you don’t have to sweat the little things while you’re
focusing all of your attention on playing your best.

I’d say that while I can make a case for both sides of the argument, the
person I found the most to blame for all of the Major madness that
overshadowed an otherwise wonderful tournament (won by the already
forgotten future trivia answer of Martin Kaymer) is Johnson’s caddie,
Bobby Brown. Johnson said he only looks at updates to the rules if he
thinks he needs to. Well, if you’re caddying for a guy, you better think
you need to do everything you can to help your guy find the Winner’s
Circle and Brown obviously didn’t do everything is his power to help his
guy do that. And where I come from, those are some Major grounds for dismissal. Sorry Mr. Brown but that’s my prerogative.

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