Check out how a rules infringement cost Dustin Johnson a chance of winning the 2010 PGA Championship.
Relive Dustin Johnson’s Painful Moment At Whistling Straits
There have been a lot of controversial moments in golf, and back in 2010, Dustin Johnson added his name to that list with one of the most dramatic and controversial moments in the sport’s history.
At the time, Johnson was beginning to really establish himself on the PGA Tour, claiming his third PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the age of 25.
In June of that year, he held the 54-hole lead at the US Open at Pebble Beach, until a final-round 82 dropped him out of the tournament.
But, only two months later at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Johnson was back in contention.
Playing the final round, the American made birdies at the 13th, 16th and 17th, to lead by a stroke playing the 72nd hole.
Driving off, Johnson landed in a waste area to the right of the fairway, or so he thought. In fact, what he had actually found was classed as one of Whistling Straits near 1000 bunkers.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Johnson unintentionally grounded his club, drawing a two-stroke penalty and thereby missing out on the playoff with Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer.
Sir Nick Faldo, who was commentating, said: “Under the circumstances of the whole commotion I think any one of us could have made that mistake.”
The rule that Johnson broke came into effect six years earlier, before the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
At the tournament, PGA officials decided to classify the roughly 1,000 sandy areas on the course as bunkers, even though some resembled patches of dirt no bigger than the seat of a chair. The local rule was clearly posted in the locker room and elsewhere but, by 2010, as Johnson stood on the 18th tee, it had been largely forgotten.
Speaking about the incident, Johnson remarked, saying “there were 1000’s of people standing on that hill. There’s Gatorade bottles, beer cans, cups, trash. I mean anything and everything is just sat around my ball.
“I get up there and I never once think that I am in a bunker. I never even thought I was in sand, it just looked like dirt.”
In the aftermath of the event, Johnson would go on to win his first FedEx Cup playoff tournament at the BMW Championship, and has since gone on to win two Majors and 24 PGA Tour titles, including claiming a PGA Tour victory in 14 consecutive seasons.