Golf is supposed to be a gentleman’s game. In fact, we golfers brag that it is the last bastion of gentlemanliness in all of sport. But the USGA  put that to rest on Sunday at the US Open, when they tried to choose their champion regardless of what happened on the golf course.

For those of you who didn’t see the final round of the US Open, here’s what happened. On the 5th green, as Dustin Johnson addressed his ball, the ball moved. Dustin said he did not move the ball. Closeup slow motion replays showed that he did not move the ball. In fact, although Johnson’s putter did not touch the ground or the ball, the ball moved TOWARD his putter, not away from it , which would be the result of his hitting and moving the ball. Obviously, a blade of grass beneath the ball gave way, and the ball moved.

Johnson called an official, discussed the incident with him, and the situation was resolved…until the 12TH TEE!!! Where USGA officials told Johnson and every other golfer in contention that they would not make a ruling until after play was concluded, when they could see who had finished where, then they would choose a champion, if possible, by charging a one stroke penalty or not, whomever it would benefit.

That is, If Johnson finished in a tie with another competitor, the USGA might charge the penalty and award the championship to the other competitor. Or if Johnson had a one stroke lead, they might not charge the penalty stroke, awarding the championship to Johnson, or they might charge the penalty, thus causing a playoff, which would, of course, mean another day of TV revenue and lots more ad income to the USGA.

Gentlemen would have made the decision in a timely manner and not influenced the last third of the final round by putting additional pressure on Johnson and the rest of the leaderboard…and would not have left themselves open to accusations of trying to manipulate the outcome of the tournament. Or maybe they’re just stupid.

But Johnson saved their reputation by winning by 4 strokes. Attaboy Dustin!

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