Dustin Johnson won his 20th PGA Tour title in Mexico, but the Rules were once again a big talking point


Rules Once Again On The Agenda At WGC-Mexico

Another WGC-Mexico Championship is in the books and once again the tournament lived up to the hype that a World Golf Championship should create.

It is my favourite of the four World Golf Championships already and the course and players delivered yet again.

Continuing on with the theme of 2019, the Rules were once again a major talking point at Chapultepec GC to the point where they may have influenced the outcome of the tournament.

Dustin Johnson’s controversial Ruling on the 5th hole during the final round completely changed the momentum of the day and, for me, took the wind out of a charging Rory McIlroy’s sails, and kept DJ afloat after a shaky start.

DJ bagged himself a free drop from behind a tree down the 5th because a stance that he made meant his right foot was stood on a path.

I know where I stand on this, and I believe the Ruling was morally wrong, and it has completely divided the Golf Monthly audience.

Dustin Johnson Gets Controversial Free Drop From Behind Tree

Should this have been a free drop? (Pic: Twitter @walkaluk1986)

Yes, the Ruling may be correct in the letter of the law, but I don’t believe that a simple chip-out backwards requires the ball at the front of a wide stance.

The former World Number One hit his tee shot behind a tree and should have taken his medicine and chipped out backwards, with ball back in his stance like a bump-and-run chip.

Anyway, the point is that once again the Rules were on the agenda in Mexico and perhaps he can be commended for knowing them, like Spieth was at the 2016 Open at Birkdale where he visited the driving range during the final round.

DJ said of his free drop: “I got a break there and ended up making a nice par.

“That’s why I called the rules official over, just because you almost felt a little bad about it.

“But it was the only way I could play the shot. I even tried to get really close to it and I was still standing on the path, so I was entitled to relief and sometimes the rules work to your advantage.”

Rory McIlroy was then rightly refused a drop on the next hole after finding himself in a similar situation, ultimately playing out sideways and left-handed.

He was refused a drop after being challenged by the referee about his stance and shot choice…DJ wasn’t.

Another moment that highlighted the Rules was on Thursday when Rickie Fowler was penalised a stroke for an incorrect drop.

Ironically, it would have been a perfectly legal drop less than two months ago, as he went for the old shoulder-height method.

Fowler was on the end of a harsh Ruling a few weeks back at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and this seems fairly harsh too on the face of it.

Rickie Fowler was penalised for an illegal drop

Yes, it’s an illegal drop but at the end of the day he will have got no advantage from it so I’d like to see a knee-to-shoulder height Rule introduced.

“I think with the new rules that have been put in place, it’s not doing any favours for our sport,” Rickie said.

Fowler also called the new knee-height drop “terrible” and said, “I definitely think it will get changed.”

In this era where time is becoming more and more precious, golf needs to attract youngsters and new people to the game and perhaps the Rules are still a little complicated, and silly at times.

DJ shouldn’t have got a free drop from behind a tree, neither should McIlroy, and Fowler shouldn’t have been penalised for dropping at shoulder height… The game would be much simpler (and faster) that way wouldn’t it?

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