Martin Kaymer Wins PGA Championship; Dustin Johnson Grounded by Rules

Martin Kaymer PGA Championship

With Tiger Woods’ game in shambles and Phil Mickelson out of contention (despite a great final round), the PGA Championship got exactly what it needed — an awesome tournament with a fresh infusion of golf’s new young stars battling it out. 25-year-old German Martin Kramer eventually took the trophy in a playoff over American Bubba Watson, although a controversial ruling kept Dustin Johnson out of playoff. Here’s a breakdown of the young stars that battled it out on Sunday.

Martin Kaymer — A few weeks back I was on ESPN.com looking at the world golf rankings for another post that I was writing. I was shocked to see that Martin Kaymer was ranked 9th in the world, on the heels of 5 European tour victories. I asked my roommate (and fellow avid golfer) yesterday what he thought Kaymer’s world ranking might be, to which he responded 78th — echoing the popular unknown sentiment. It’s too bad that Kaymer’s victory will take a back seat to Dustin Johnson’s controversial rules call, as Kaymer played as well as anybody. His approach shot into the final playoff hole was golden.

Dustin Johnson — When Johnson’s ball ended up on a sand/dirt patch on the back 9 Sunday, he never even considered that his ball could be in a “bunker.” He proceeded to touch his club to the ground (which you can’t do in a bunker) and hit a great shot. I would have done the same thing, as would most other players in the field. Johnson was later penalized 2-shots for the infraction that dropped him out of the final playoff. The good news is that he missed a short putt to “win” the tournament on the final hole of regulation — if he had made the putt he would have thought he had won the tournament, only to be stripped of his title. Regardless of his disappointment, Johnson played in the final group at 2 majors this year. He shot a final round 82 in the US Open to finish 8th, but rebounded yesterday to play much better — it was his tournament to win. This guy has absolutely awesome power, and clearly is a big tournament player. I’d look for him to play well next season and at the Ryder Cup.

Bubba Watson — Another super long hitter, Bubba ultimately ruined his chances on the final hole of the playoff against Kaymer by taking a stupidly aggressive line over water from the rough to the final green. Watson plunked it to make double bogey and lose. You’ve still got to love this guy — he’s never taken a golf lesson because he doesn’t want golf to “become his job.” He figures if he’s not good enough to beat all the other players without lessons, he’s just not good enough.

Rory McIlroy — Rory McIlroy is 22 years old, and missed the playoff by 1 shot. This kid, in my opinion, is golf’s next big star. His swing is awesome, he’s super aggressive, and he’s good enough to back it up with his game. He’s used to playing tough courses in adverse weather conditions, and should be a factor in majors for a long time.

All four of these names are players that you should know. While the days of Tiger and Phil are by no means gone (don’t listen to that BS), it’s refreshing to see a group of new young talent stepping up in the game.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Martin Kaymer Wins PGA Championship; Dustin Johnson Grounded by Rules

  1. This is exactly what bothers me about golf. A dumb rule hurts Dustin Johnson. If there was no intent, there should be no penalty. Actually, this shouldn’t have been a 2 stroke penalty in the first place.

    • I disagree — the correct call was actually made by the rules official. I completely agree that the situation was unfortunate however. This is not a case, as was written on ESPN, where Dustin has no one to blame but himself. Any player — I bet you even Tiger — would have done the exact same thing. Sure, it was a “local rule” and was metioned on a rules sheet at the beginning of the week. But no player who looks at that lie asks themself, “Is this a bunker?” Especially on the back 9 sunday when you are in contention. Sucks for Dustin — I thought he handled it very well. And after watching him play, I’m a fan of his game. He’ll rebound.

  2. A. Rab Money

    Heres my take: The rules are clear and he did ground his club in a hazard, though I do not know the penalty for doing so, it was an infraction indeed. However, because it was the final hole of a major championship and he was the final group, by the time he hit his ball into the crowd, the fans had overrun most of the course trying to get close to see the finish. As a result he had people only 3 or 4 feet from his ball and could not distinguish any boundries or lips of a bunker or hazard. Since this were the conditions he was left to deal with there should have been some kind of exception, perhaps maybe a 1 stroke penalty instead of 2. To be fair though it is his responsibility, as te rules sheet stated, to make sure he knew where he was playing his ball, and he clearly made the mistake of assuming something, which turned out to be false. I feel bad for the guy, and wish he made the playoff as well, because it would have been even more exciting than it was. Regardless, this was the best end to a major this season, with all the “young guns” of the tour competing for the title.

    • I don’t know about making exceptions, but I agree with your sentiments and that this was the best ending to a major this year. It is crazy that he had to hit that shot with fans literally 3 or 4 feet away from him on each side. While this is not uncommon, given the fact that it was the last few holes of a major championship that he was seriously in contention for, I would have liked to see a bit more time taken to back up the spectators giving Dustin some more room to operate.

      • j-bone

        actually tiger did ask the rules official on something very similar on saturday. we also saw Bubba ask the rules officials alot of questions about where he could hit after putting it in the water during the extra holes. It was a very unfortunate situation but I think a more experienced golfer would have atleast thought to ask

      • I didn’t see Tiger asking the rules official, but it doesn’t surprise me. As for Bubba, the situation he was in almost always results in the player asking very specific questions to the rules official as to where they can and can’t drop the ball. Asking questions of a rules official is common practice, as it should be — that’s what they are there for. But Johnson’s situation was different to me — I don’t think it had anything to do with his experience level. At every other tournament when you find your ball on a little patch of dirt you simply hit it — it never crosses your mind that you may be in a bunker. Let alone on the back 9 of a major that you are fully invested in and under significant pressure. If someone was going to step up and ask, it would have been nice of his caddy to do so. Mostly though, I think that no one thought to ask as it was very obviously an area trampled by fans (they had to clear out so he could hit the shot). Seeing as it was a trampled area, that seemed a very logical explanation for the dirt patch.

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