Dustin Johnson Gets Controversial Free Drop From Behind Tree

The former World Number One used the Rules to his advantage during the WGC-Mexico Championship final round

Dustin Johnson Gets Controversial Free Drop From Behind Tree
Pic: Twitter @walkaluk1986

The former World Number One used the Rules to his advantage during the WGC-Mexico Championship final round

Dustin Johnson Gets Controversial Free Drop From Behind Tree

Dustin Johnson used the Rules to his advantage during the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship, where he managed to get a free drop from up against a tree.

DJ hit an iron off the tee on the 5th hole and his ball rolled off down the right of the fairway, finishing behind a tree.

Rory McIlroy was chasing him and within three strokes, looking likely to claw one back with his American rival snookered.

Johnson was going to have to chip out backwards from behind the tree, although a fortuitous ruling saved him.

DJ was allowed to get a free drop out to the left due to his stance being impeded by a path.

The former World Number One took his stance and his right foot was on the path, meaning he could drop out sidewards.

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He was left with a tricky shot, requiring a low fade and he pulled it off to perfection, finding the green and leaving himself some 30 feet for birdie.

He would go on to two-putt for par.

On the very next hole, Rory McIlroy then found himself behind a tree as well.

He called in a referee and, like DJ, was claiming that his foot would be on the path when playing the shot.

He was declined a free drop and played out sidewards left-handed, eventually bogeying the par-5 after his third shot found the water.

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Dustin Johnson's drop caused controversy with commentators and on social media, with some believing that the original stance he took wasn't actually the stance he would use to play the shot and was instead a stance to use the Rules to his advantage.

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Whether you believe DJ's drop was correct or not, the Rules are once again a talking point this week.

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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x