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PGA Championship Recap: Can a Brother get a rule book?   Share

15 August 2010

Two relative unknowns outside the golfing world wound up in a 3-hole playoff to determine the winner of the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.  Martin Kaymer edged out Bubba Watson by one stroke on the final hole of the playoff to earn his first major victory, but the tournament will be forever remembered for Dustin Johnson. Before the 15th of August Johnson was best known for choking mightily after being the round three leader in the US Open, only to shoot 10 over par on the last day (that’s really bad for a pro). As awful a legacy as this could have been, he now may be known for his inability to read and comprehend the rules of golf (or at least the local rules at Whistling Straits golf course).

This inability to understand some course specific rules at Whistling Straits led to him taking a two shot penalty on the last hole and eliminated him from the playoff.  The two shot penalty was assessed because Johnson grounded his club in a sand bunker.  In layman’s terms grounding the club is simply allowing it to touch the ground before striking the ball.  In golf, you are not allowed to do this in sand bunkers and coincidentally, the course had over 1,200 of these bunkers.  The course and the PGA also distributed a 100 word statement pertaining to these bunkers that stated that no relief would be given (meaning to allow a club to be grounded or the lie to be improved).  It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for this guy when he or his caddie could have taken 30-40 seconds out of their day to read some rules that apply to their profession and ability to earn a living (a good one at that).

So, to recap, it really doesn’t matter who actually won the tournament on Sunday, you just need to know that Dustin Johnson is a bonehead!

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Golf Basics

Golf is probably one of the simplest professional sports.  There is no standardized playing area, no clock, and very few rules.  In essence, players carry a bag full of clubs in order to hit the ball into a hole with as few strokes as possible. More...


Ryder Cup:  a biennial golf event featuring the United States versus Europe in a 3 day golf match

Cutline:  Commonly referred to as the “Cut” it is generally the top 70 players or anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.

World Golf Championship:  a series of four golf tournaments sanctioned by five world golf governing bodies.

Ace:  Another word for a hole in one (the golfer is able to put the ball in the cup in one shot).

Approach:  A shot that occurs for a golfer after a tee shot and before a chip or put.  Essentially, it is a long to middle distance shot to get the ball within striking distance of the green where the cup is.

Chip:  A shot used to hit the ball a short distance so the golfer can transition from swinging clubs to using a putter to roll the ball into the hole.

Dogleg:  A hole that significantly curves between the tee box and the hole.  The name comes from the shape of the hole which resembles a dog leg.

Drive:  A shot used to hit the ball a long distance from the tee box.

Handicap:  The average score an amateur golfer gets over 18 holes.  For instance, a 6 handicap would usually shoot a 78 on a course that was a par 72.

Links:  Another word for a golf course.  Origins were early courses that were by the seaside, thus holes linked land and sandy soil.

Par:  The number of shots that it should take a skilled golfer to complete each hole, and in turn the entire course.
PGA:  Professional Golfers Association—the league that contains the world’s best golfers. St Andrews is a par 72 course.

Pitch:  See Chip above.

USGA:  United States Golf Association, the body that sets the rules for professional and amateur golf.

Majors: US Open, the Masters, PGA Championship, British Open.