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USGA statement on rules debacle


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The ball didn't move until a full second (or more) after DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball and started to place it behind the ball. He never grounded the putter behind the ball and the movement of the ball couldn't have been from him hitting it with his putter when the putter was hovering behind the ball. I understand what you are saying, but the delay between when DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball to when the ball actually moves really goes against that argument.

 

Since I couldn't watch on Sunday, I was watching on DVR last night. In real-time (while he was still on the green...not-zoomed in), it looked like the ball moved as soon as he picked up the putter after the practice stroke.

 

Is the zoomed-in video later in the broadcast?

 

There was a decent (but fuzzy) video on here yesterday in one of the many threads, but I can't locate it.

 

It wasn't immediately when he pulled the putter up. It was 1 - 1.5 seconds or so after he lifted the putter off the ground. May not seem like much to the naked eye watching live TV, but in the world of physics that is essentially a lifetime.

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i emailed them as well


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Interesting, no apology for questioning the players and on course official's integrity. If I'm not mistaken, they implied DJ and Westwood both lied about the situation after they said DJ didn't cause he ball to move when questioned. Heck, even the pixelated video shows he didn't ground the club behind the ball, which moved backwards btw. Apparently physics wasn't a requirement to become a blue coat. Keep it classy USGA.

 

Rolling backward (down hill) is the direction it would move. He grounded the club next to the ball, and it moved when he lifted the club from the ground.

 

Did that cause the ball to move? I don't know. But certainly very possible.

 

The ball didn't move until a full second (or more) after DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball and started to place it behind the ball. He never grounded the putter behind the ball and the movement of the ball couldn't have been from him hitting it with his putter when the putter was hovering behind the ball. I understand what you are saying, but the delay between when DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball to when the ball actually moves really goes against that argument.

 

This is the gray area where the problem lies with the rule. It is "possible" that when he grounded his putter toe next to the ball .... that "along" with the speed of the greens, in-between dimples, slight wind or grass growing, earthquakes, rotation of the earth, moon's gravity caused the ball to move.

 

I believe DG when he said he did not touch the ball. It's the rule that is the problem. (kind of like what constitutes a catch in the NFL).

 

BTW: there's no way for Westwood or the official there to actually SEE what the ball was doing while DJ addressed it.

 

Congrats to DJ for holding it together.

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Interesting, no apology for questioning the players and on course official's integrity. If I'm not mistaken, they implied DJ and Westwood both lied about the situation after they said DJ didn't cause he ball to move when questioned. Heck, even the pixelated video shows he didn't ground the club behind the ball, which moved backwards btw. Apparently physics wasn't a requirement to become a blue coat. Keep it classy USGA.

 

Rolling backward (down hill) is the direction it would move. He grounded the club next to the ball, and it moved when he lifted the club from the ground.

 

Did that cause the ball to move? I don't know. But certainly very possible.

 

The ball didn't move until a full second (or more) after DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball and started to place it behind the ball. He never grounded the putter behind the ball and the movement of the ball couldn't have been from him hitting it with his putter when the putter was hovering behind the ball. I understand what you are saying, but the delay between when DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball to when the ball actually moves really goes against that argument.

 

This is the gray area where the problem lies with the rule. It is "possible" that when he grounded his putter toe next to the ball .... that "along" with the speed of the greens, in-between dimples, slight wind or grass growing, earthquakes, rotation of the earth, moon's gravity caused the ball to move.

 

I believe DG when he said he did not touch the ball. It's the rule that is the problem. (kind of like what constitutes a catch in the NFL).

 

BTW: there's no way for Westwood or the official there to actually SEE what the ball was doing while DJ addressed it.

 

Congrats to DJ for holding it together.

 

DJ never addressed it...

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Interesting, no apology for questioning the players and on course official's integrity. If I'm not mistaken, they implied DJ and Westwood both lied about the situation after they said DJ didn't cause he ball to move when questioned. Heck, even the pixelated video shows he didn't ground the club behind the ball, which moved backwards btw. Apparently physics wasn't a requirement to become a blue coat. Keep it classy USGA.

 

Rolling backward (down hill) is the direction it would move. He grounded the club next to the ball, and it moved when he lifted the club from the ground.

 

Did that cause the ball to move? I don't know. But certainly very possible.

 

The ball didn't move until a full second (or more) after DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball and started to place it behind the ball. He never grounded the putter behind the ball and the movement of the ball couldn't have been from him hitting it with his putter when the putter was hovering behind the ball. I understand what you are saying, but the delay between when DJ lifted his putter from beside the ball to when the ball actually moves really goes against that argument.

 

This is the gray area where the problem lies with the rule. It is "possible" that when he grounded his putter toe next to the ball .... that "along" with the speed of the greens, in-between dimples, slight wind or grass growing, earthquakes, rotation of the earth, moon's gravity caused the ball to move.

 

I believe DG when he said he did not touch the ball. It's the rule that is the problem. (kind of like what constitutes a catch in the NFL).

 

BTW: there's no way for Westwood or the official there to actually SEE what the ball was doing while DJ addressed it.

 

Congrats to DJ for holding it together.

 

DJ never addressed it...

 

You are correct.

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The worst part of this to me is that this was self initiated review by the USGA booth officials, noone requested it and as such it was totally unnecessary after the official on the ground made a decision that there was no penalty that needed to be assessed.

 

So now have we entered a new era where not only you can call in a complaint (armchair review) but the booth can self initiate a review... to me that's total BS, if the USGA officials in the booth are not asked to intervene they should simply shut up and enjoy the tournament.

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As hard as those greens were, it is very difficult to believe that the putter made such an impression on the ground it could move the ball. It might have happened if Johnson had a demolition hammer in his hand instead of a putter.

 

But if that is the USGA's rationale, and they thought it was more than 50% likely it caused the ball to move, by rule they can take a stroke. It is like a baseball umpire seeing a pitch hit the dirt, bounce up and cross the batter's knees, and calling it a strike, but that's their right to make that call.

 

Officials make bad calls. But the way it was handled made everything worse. the USGA has a lot of work to do, and I guess the PGA Tour will have another local rule to add for the rule sheet for future tournaments.

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I think its fair to have a reasonable expectation that a player can take practice strokes, address the ball and ground their club without the ball moving. If during any of those actions, along with lack of intent, that ball moves without being touched it should not be penalized. If the ball does move, it should be assumed it was outside influence or due to adverse conditions like US Open green speeds.

 

One of my favorite things about golf is how intent plays such a major role in the rules. If a player does not intend to move the ball, and does not physically touch it, then they should not be penalized.

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Why don't they use the NFL rule that they need "incontrovertible visual evidence" for a call to be overturned.

 

Not some wobbly "we think it was possible" or "51/49 percent chance" nonsense. Johnson, Westwood and the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move. The video is inconclusive - he did not touch the ball, so any number of factors could have caused it to move. That is not "incontrovertible visual evidence".

 

The USGA needs to understand they are not the focus of the competition, yet every year they somehow get in on the show with some drama, conflict or controversy - usually self-inflicted. USGA - it's not about you.

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Did anyone else think the timing of the penalty had anything to do with the broadcast? Joe Buck was talking about all the great breaks that Dustin Johnson was getting with the original ruling and then taking his ball out of the rough on the line of sight rule. Less than 5 minutes later Jeff Hall came on TV to announce a potential violation. My theory: The USGA was mad that the Fox crew basically said they were helping DJ win the tournament so they over-corrected and penalized him later. Even more pathetic if true and the USGA should have cleaned house and fired it's leaders on Monday morning.

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Did anyone else think the timing of the penalty had anything to do with the broadcast? Joe Buck was talking about all the great breaks that Dustin Johnson was getting with the original ruling and then taking his ball out of the rough on the line of sight rule. Less than 5 minutes later Jeff Hall came on TV to announce a potential violation. My theory: The USGA was mad that the Fox crew basically said they were helping DJ win the tournament so they over-corrected and penalized him later. Even more pathetic if true and the USGA should have cleaned house and fired it's leaders on Monday morning.

 

The USGA has many problems, but I sincerely doubt they were trying to make up for a "favorable" prior ruling.

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the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move.

 

The official on-site never said that.

 

The rule official instructed Johnson to play the ball where it came to rest. That is an official ruling, in addition to agreement, that he did not cause the ball to move. Johnson would have had to replace the ball in it's original position if he caused it to move.

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the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move.

 

The official on-site never said that.

 

The rule official instructed Johnson to play the ball where it came to rest. That is an official ruling, in addition to agreement, that he did not cause the ball to move. Johnson would have had to replace the ball in it's original position if he caused it to move.

 

 

The rulings weren't coupled. Yes, the ruling to play it from that spot was honored. Him causing the ball to move, however, wasn't ruled on at that time.... they say.

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the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move.

 

The official on-site never said that.

 

The rule official instructed Johnson to play the ball where it came to rest. That is an official ruling, in addition to agreement, that he did not cause the ball to move. Johnson would have had to replace the ball in it's original position if he caused it to move.

 

 

The rulings weren't coupled. Yes, the ruling to play it from that spot was honored. Him causing the ball to move, however, wasn't ruled on at that time.... they say.

 

 

If you play a ball from an incorrect lie, you are subject to a penalty. So the ruling on the course was the player was not deemed to have moved the ball, no penalty, play from new position and he recorded a score for the hole. My understanding was the the official in the booth that looked at the video informed the official on the course that they may review the ruling on course after the round.

 

When they made the ruling after the round to "overturn" the ruling on the course and the posted score, they invoked a general assessed penalty of one stroke, which negates any additional penalties for playing from a wrong position. This enabled Johnson to sign a scorecard that could not be deemed to be incorrect, leading to a potential DQ.

 

I respect your view of this issue, but I guess we have to agree to disagree. That's what I love about this game and this site. Ladies and gentlemen can have a discussion and have differing opinions without resorting to digressive forms of communication. Cheers.

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the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move.

 

The official on-site never said that.

 

The rule official instructed Johnson to play the ball where it came to rest. That is an official ruling, in addition to agreement, that he did not cause the ball to move. Johnson would have had to replace the ball in it's original position if he caused it to move.

 

 

The rulings weren't coupled. Yes, the ruling to play it from that spot was honored. Him causing the ball to move, however, wasn't ruled on at that time.... they say.

 

 

If you play a ball from an incorrect lie, you are subject to a penalty. So the ruling on the course was the player was not deemed to have moved the ball, no penalty, play from new position and he recorded a score for the hole. My understanding was the the official in the booth that looked at the video informed the official on the course that they may review the ruling on course after the round.

 

When they made the ruling after the round to "overturn" the ruling on the course and the posted score, they invoked a general assessed penalty of one stroke, which negates any additional penalties for playing from a wrong position. This enabled Johnson to sign a scorecard that could not be deemed to be incorrect, leading to a potential DQ.

 

I respect your view of this issue, but I guess we have to agree to disagree. That's what I love about this game and this site. Ladies and gentlemen can have a discussion and have differing opinions without resorting to digressive forms of communication. Cheers.

 

Or you could read the exact decision covering the situation:

 

34-3/7

 

Referee Determines Player Did Not Cause Ball to Move; Committee Subsequently Changes Ruling

 

 

Q.A player's ball in play moves and he is unsure whether he caused it to move in breach of Rule 18-2. The player asks for a ruling from a referee. Based on the evidence, the referee determines that the player did not cause the ball to move and instructs the player to play the ball as it lies without penalty. After the player plays, the Committee assesses the same evidence or additional evidence that was not available at the time and determines that the player had caused the ball to move. What is the ruling?

 

 

A.Rule 34-3 does not prevent a Committee from changing a ruling (see Decision 34-3/1). As the player caused the ball to move, he was required to replace the ball with a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2. When he failed to do so, he played from a wrong place. However, as he did so at the instruction of a referee, he does not incur the general penalty under Rule 18 for playing from a wrong place. Nevertheless, he does incur the penalty stroke under Rule 18-2 as he caused the ball to move before the ruling from the referee. The player must continue with the ball played from the wrong place. (Revised)

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Why don't they use the NFL rule that they need "incontrovertible visual evidence" for a call to be overturned.

 

Not some wobbly "we think it was possible" or "51/49 percent chance" nonsense. Johnson, Westwood and the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move. The video is inconclusive - he did not touch the ball, so any number of factors could have caused it to move. That is not "incontrovertible visual evidence".

 

The USGA needs to understand they are not the focus of the competition, yet every year they somehow get in on the show with some drama, conflict or controversy - usually self-inflicted. USGA - it's not about you.

 

No way for those individuals to absolutely know if DJ moved the ball besides his word (which I'm fine with). I frankly didn't see it move until they did the ultra slow mo on it.

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The first sentence doesn't match the circumstances, does it?

 

I thought DJ was sure he did NOT cause it to move and was not UNSURE whether he caused it to move.

 

Am I wrong?

 

The decision still applies. The players know that getting a ref involved offers some protection.

 

That wasn't my question or point.

 

Who determined that DJ was "unsure?"

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kevcarter - Thank you for posting the ruling. It confirms my contention that they need to make a ruling immediately and based on "incontrovertible visual evidence".

 

Can you imagine an NFL game where the officials overturned a ruling on the field after the game was over and awarded the victory to the other team? A team or single competitor needs to know where they stand during the competition. They can't be playing the game with the knowledge that the outcome will be decided, behind closed doors, through a process that may have the appearance of being capricious or manipulative.

 

If Johnson tied or "won" by one stroke, that would have been the exact situation.Talk about losing the integrity of the game.

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kevcarter - Thank you for posting the ruling. It confirms my contention that they need to make a ruling immediately and based on "incontrovertible visual evidence".

 

Can you imagine an NFL game where the officials overturned a ruling on the field after the game was over and awarded the victory to the other team? A team or single competitor needs to know where they stand during the competition. They can't be playing the game with the knowledge that the outcome will be decided, behind closed doors, through a process that may have the appearance of being capricious or manipulative.

 

If Johnson tied or "won" by one stroke, that would have been the exact situation.Talk about losing the integrity of the game.

 

Luckily it didn't happen. Unfortunately. We all have to suffer all the drama as if it did...

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Why don't they use the NFL rule that they need "incontrovertible visual evidence" for a call to be overturned.

 

Not some wobbly "we think it was possible" or "51/49 percent chance" nonsense. Johnson, Westwood and the official on site said Johnson didn't cause the ball to move. The video is inconclusive - he did not touch the ball, so any number of factors could have caused it to move. That is not "incontrovertible visual evidence".

 

The USGA needs to understand they are not the focus of the competition, yet every year they somehow get in on the show with some drama, conflict or controversy - usually self-inflicted. USGA - it's not about you.

 

No way for those individuals to absolutely know if DJ moved the ball besides his word (which I'm fine with). I frankly didn't see it move until they did the ultra slow mo on it.

 

I don't agree. I think they were watching him putt, saw he didn't ground his putter behind the ball and he pulled away. If they saw the ball move or not, they saw he didn't ground his putter, so they concluded he didn't move the ball. "absolutely know" is a standard beyond the scope of the environment and the individuals involved.

 

I think extremely sloped greens running at 14+ on the stimp meter was the culprit - not the player.

 

I don't think it's fair for the conditions to be so extreme that a player cannot make a practice stroke next to the ball due to fear that they may cause the ball to move. What next? "he stepped in to address the ball and his footstep may have caused the ball to move - one stroke penalty?!?"

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The first sentence doesn't match the circumstances, does it?

 

I thought DJ was sure he did NOT cause it to move and was not UNSURE whether he caused it to move.

 

Am I wrong?

 

The decision still applies. The players know that getting a ref involved offers some protection.

 

That wasn't my question or point.

 

Who determined that DJ was "unsure?"

 

Who said DJ was unsure?

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