Tiger Woods Slams USGA Over Dustin Johnson Rules Debacle

Woods is hosting this week at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club

Tiger Woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods called Dustin Johnson's US Open rules fiasco "awful" ahead of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional which he hosts

It's the Quicken Loans National this week at Congressional Country Club which Tiger Woods hosts for the benefit of the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The 14-time major winner, who's been away from the game since last August after surgery on his back, spoke to the media about last week's controversial US Open as well as his own return to the game.

Tiger was asked about Sunday's US Open final round where a USGA ruling, and how they went about it, caused controversy and almost overshadowed Dustin Johnson's first major championship win.

Johnson's ball appeared to move on the fifth green as he hovered his putter over it and was told at the time by a referee that there'd be no penalty. However, seven holes later he and the rest of the field were told that the incident would be looked at once he had finished his round.

Tiger Woods

Dustin Johnson speaking to the referee on the fifth green during the US Open final round

"I watched" said Woods.

"It was awful because no one knew what was going on. DJ didn't know how he stood. The rest of the guys ahead of him didn't understand what was going on. No one had a clue. Am I tied for the lead or am I leading the tournament? Am I one back or am I tied? No one understood where they stood in the tournament so that determines what you're going to do.

"It wasn't a matter of integrity, it was a matter of getting the ruling right. If you have a rules official there, I thought it was binding, his decision. Whatever he decides, he decides. I didn't understand how they could say, 'We're going to take you in, we may or may not assess you a penalty. You still have six holes to go, but who knows who's leading the U.S. Open.' I didn't see how that was appropriate."

"It was frustrating to watch how it was handled," said Woods. "That championship being our national title and the history behind it, it deserved a better handling of the situation. I'm a little bit feistier than Dustin so I think I would have said a few more things during the round."

Tiger hasn't played since last August at the Wyndham Championship where he finished T10th. Since then he's had surgery on his back and has only started playing golf again in the last couple of months.

Of his comeback Woods said:

“I'm still getting stronger.”

“I'm excited about what has transpired so far. Getting leaner. I've lost some body fat but I kept the weight up, which is nice. I've gotten stronger and it's just recovering from day to day.

“I'm sore and it's about trying to recover for the next day. I just need to still get in more golf shape, try to hit more golf balls, things of that nature. … I'm just playing it week to week and I keep getting physically better. I just hope that everything clicks in and I can do it sooner rather than later.”

“It's about me playing 36 holes on a daily basis, getting up to speed and playing. I'm not quite there yet,” Woods said. “I'm trying to get there, I'm trying to get there as fast as I can, but I'm trying to do it right at the same time. As you know, I've pushed through a lot of injuries and rehabs before in the past. Trying to do it correctly this time.

Tiger Woods

Woods with caddie Joe LaCava during the final round of the Wyndham Championship

“The amount of exercises and hours I spend in the gym or in the pool or on the bike, just trying to get back and trying to have it where I can, one, first of all, have a nice quality of life, and then two is to get out here into the competitive environment. I'm kind of sneaking up on both.”

Tiger hosts this week in the 10th playing of the Quicken Loans National, where he has twice won. The tournament benefits his foundation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“It's tough not playing my own event. It feels like I should be out there, I should be competing, I should be giving it everything I have and it doesn't feel good when I can't do that. I miss playing against these guys. I have to sit on the sidelines just like everybody else.

“This is a championship venue and is a heck of a test. This year especially because it’s going to be long. Obviously the rain they got last night. It's going to be tough for them, not me.”

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV