• "We regret the distraction caused by our decision," it read
• Admit handling was wrong - but that the ruling was correct
USGA | US OPEN
The USGA has admitted ‘regret’ over the handling of the Dustin Johnson rules debacle which overshadowed the final round of the US Open.
The 31-year-old, who went on to win the tournament by three strokes, was penalised one shot on the conclusion of his final round for causing the ball to move on the fifth green. At the time, the match referee was happy with the American’s reasoning but, more than an hour later, he was informed on the 12th tee box that he may face a penalty.
The penalty and general handling of the situation sent social media into complete uproar and, one day on, the USGA addressed what had happened.
In a 620-word statement, the USGA said: “We regret the distraction caused by our decision to wait until the end of the round to decide on the ruling. While our focus on getting the ruling correct was appropriate, we created uncertainty about where players stood on the leaderboard after we informed Dustin on the 12th tee that his actions on the fifth green might lead to a penalty.
“This created unnecessary ambiguity for Dustin and the other players, as well as spectators on-site, and those watching and listening on television and digital channels.”
However, despite conceding that the handling of the situation could’ve been better, the USGA is in no doubt it came to the right decision to dock Johnson a stroke.
“Our officials reviewed the video of Dustin on the fifth green and determined that based on the weight of the evidence, it was more likely than not that Dustin caused his ball to move. Dustin’s putter contacted the ground at the side of the ball, and almost immediately after, the ball moved.
“We accept that not everyone will agree that Dustin caused his ball to move. While we respect the viewpoints of those who disagree, our committee made a careful and collective judgement in its pursuit of a fair competition under the Rules of Golf.”
USGA statement :: Your thoughts
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