It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Dustin Johnson wins US Open but controversy reigns
Dustin Johnson finally got his hands on a Major title but only after the US Open threatened to descend into farce at Oakmont.
The American found a brilliant birdie on the 18th to post a 69 as he eradicated the memories of Chambers Bay 12 months ago.
But it was far from simple. He had to endure a nervous back 9 after USGA officials stepped in.
Johnson’s ball moved on the 5th green as he hovered his putter in the air.
He called in a rules official, argued he had not addressed the ball, and that appeared the end of the matter as he knocked in for par.
As he stood on the 12th, however, an official spoke to Johnson.
He now faced the possibility of a one-stroke penalty with the incident under review and to be resolved after the round.
It was an enormously controversial moment with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler among the big names soon criticising the USGA on social media.
The uncertainty definitely affected Johnson for a while. He hit some poor shots in the aftermath and bogeyed 14 to drop back into a tie for the lead with Shane Lowry.
The Irishman had started the final round with a four stroke lead after coming back early in the morning finish off his third round with a 65.
He was soon struggling, though, as he went out in a three over 38.
Lowry dropped another shot at the 10th to fall two strokes behind before fighting back with a birdie at the 12th to keep his hopes alive.
But the drama with Johnson appeared to break his concentration and he recorded successive bogeys at 14, 15 and 16.
The other contenders were also left in a weird situation where no one was really quite sure what score the American was on.
For Johnson, the situation had echoes of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits where he was penalised for grounding his ball in a sandy waste area – classed as a bunker – and missed out on a playoff.
With all of this drama, he still rolled in a brilliant 10 foot putt for par on the 16th, found a 4 at the 17th and then hammered his iron shot at the final hole to a couple of feet.
He holed the putt to make certain of the title in style.
He was then penalised a stroke – recording a bogey on the 5th – after the round before signing his scorecard.
Johnson said of the incident: “It is something they said we were going to look at when we got done. I just tried to focus on what I was doing and not about the penalty stroke and just try and play golf from there to the house.”