While the U.S. Open came down to a dramatic finish, the USGA is receiving attention for a reason it didn’t expect or hope for.
Dustin Johnson, hoping to finally capture his first major championship, played a solid Sunday round while Shane Lowry struggled in the final pairing while fighting to hang around the lead. However, the conclusion to the event came under unique circumstance due to an incident Johnson had on the fifth green earlier in the round.
After taking several practice strokes, Johnson went to address his par putt. The ball moved backward prior to the putter touching the ground, and he brought a rules official in to discuss what had happened. Johnson adamantly denied causing the ball to move, and he converted the par putt.
But what appeared to be a settled topic came back up again when Johnson was told on the 12th hole that the USGA was reviewing the video to see whether he actually caused the ball to move. It was deemed that a decision would be made after the round where a one-stroke penalty could be assessed, which would be a potentially crushing blow given how close the leaderboard continues to be.
The penalty stroke was assessed, but Johnson made it a moot point by finishing strong and winning the U.S. Open by three strokes.
Given the strange and controversial situation, many of the world’s best players reacted strongly to the USGA’s decision to wait until after the round for a decision to be made:
Lemme get this straight.. DJ doesn't address it. It's ruled that he didn't cause it to move. Now you tell him he may have? Now? This a joke?
— Jordan Spieth (@JordanSpieth) June 19, 2016
This is ridiculous… No penalty whatsoever for DJ. Let the guy play without this crap in his head. Amateur hour from @USGA
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) June 19, 2016
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) June 19, 2016
Don't cheat the children USGA!! Let the kids play!!
— Smylie Kaufman (@SmylieKaufman10) June 19, 2016
The @USGA are creating an incredibly anti-climatic scenario here during what should be an incredibly dramatic back nine on Sunday. Sort it.
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) June 19, 2016
The USGA confirmed they would review it after the round, while Mike Davis added another statement:
The USGA will review the video of No. 5 with Dustin Johnson immediately following his round. A determination will be made at that time.
— USGA (@USGA) June 19, 2016
Mike Davis: "People are going to be upset however we rule. Bottom line, we have to follow the rules no matter what."
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) June 19, 2016