Sunday, July 3, 2016

A weird golf ruling

Dustin Johnson, recent winner of the US Golf Open, added another doo-dad to his trophy case by bagging the Bridgestone/Firestone championship in Akron, Ohio. The sponsors and hypesters call this tourney the "World Golf Championship", but it hardly looked the part. Several of the top golfers in the world didn't even bother to show up.

DJ's title came about by an unlikely scenario. Aussie Jason Day, the #1 player in the world, was cruising right along on top with just a few holes to go. Day is certainly not known as a choke artist, but in this case he made a bad shot, then compounded it with some horrible decisions. He would wind up tied for third place.

But something very unusual happened and yours truly can't figure it out. Day had driven his ball far into the left rough and found it to be behind a large evergreen. He was able to hit the ball out but then found himself in the right hand rough with his ball square behind the trunk of a large tree. He would have to waste a shot to go around it. Or so it appeared. Play it where it lies or take a penalty stroke -- right?

Not so fast.  After conferring with a rules official, Day was allowed to pick his ball up and drop it to the side of the tree. No penalty stroke. How could that be?

It got stranger still. After a "drop", the ball landed in a poor lie. Day was allowed to re-drop. Huh? The same thing happened yet again. Another bad lie. Incredibly, Day was then allowed to place his ball as he saw fit.

What the hell was going on here? Since when do PGA players get a free drop, then another, then be allowed to choose what sort of lie they have to hit their next shot out of?

Almost fittingly, Day would whack the next shot into a lake. Good-bye championship.

This is nothing against Jason Day. Besides being currently ranked the top player on the planet, the Aussie is a world class gentleman as well. It's almost impossible NOT to like him.

Unlike most other sports, where players try to get away with whatever they can (cheating), golf has long held itself to a much higher standard. The players will call penalties on themselves if they inadvertently commit an infraction. So no, this is not to say Jason Day cheated in any way. After all, he called a rules official over, and it was THAT guy that allowed the above to transpire.

Still, yours truly remains at a loss. How was this allowed to happen?

Anybody know? If so, please enlighten me by posting a comment below.

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