Dustin Johnson Rules Controversy Overshadows U.S. Open Win

What is it with DJ, the U.S. Open, and putting? Last year at Chambers Bay, Dustin Johnson’s three-putt on the 72nd hole cost him the tournament; this year at Oakmont, his practice stroke at the 59th hole has cost the USGA credibility.

Ever since a Rules official told Johnson on the 12th tee that his actions on the 5th green were being reviewed—with a penalty possibly being assessed, but not until after the round when Johnson would be able to view a video of the ball moving—the golf world has exploded in response. A significant number of players, most recently including Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, have questioned the USGA’s handling of the situation. Then the USGA responded with a statement congratulating, thanking, and all but apologizing to Johnson, plus promising to review its policies regarding Rules incidents during a tournament.

But that’s not the end of it, with the latest noise from the social-media world wondering where was USGA boss Mike Davis during all the brouhaha. It’s never good when the organization (or disorganization) of an event overshadows the event itself, and rest assured that changes are in the offing in how our national championship will be conducted, if not also some of the who, as well.

Another note: While Fox Sports earned generally positive reviews of its second U.S. Open coverage—particularly for the unvarnished comments from Paul Azinger, Brad Faxon, and others regarding the Rules imbroglio—early ratings for the final round were none too good: Since 1988, only Martin Kaymer’s 2014 victory fared worse with viewers.