A Sunday for the Ages

Often referred to as the “Lord’s Day”, the day of rest, or simply a day entirely dedicated to a marathon of football watching and binge eating, Sunday, June 19, 2016, was none of the above.  What will undoubtedly go down as one of the more memorable day’s for sports this calendar year, and in my estimation of years past, this day belonged to a King and his men, a promising golfer who’s major conquest was long overdue, and let’s not forget (spoiler alert)—JON SNOW! (Suck it Ramsay Bolton!)

Dustin Johnson began the day 4 strokes back of Shane Lowry.  DJ, as some call him, is the author of several well documented major collapses, which have led many to label him the the best player to never win a major. 

2010 US Open @ Pebble Beach – Final round of 82, blowing a 3 shot lead

2010 PGA Championship @ Whistling Straits – 1 stroke penalty on the 18th – misses out on playoff

2015 US Open @ Chambers Bay – three putt from 12 feet on 18 to finish 2nd behind Jordan Spieth

Well that label was shed Sunday…

Johnson stared down demons of past and present and capped off a remarkable weekend with his first major victory.  His biggest foe of the day came in the form of a botched decision making process courtesy of the USGA.  On the 5th hole while standing over his putt, Johnson, after taking his customary practice strokes, moved his putter behind the ball ready to stroke his putt.  At that point, the ball rolled back ever so slightly before Johnson pulled his putter back.  It seemed after watching the video of it that Johnson never made contact with the ball and therefore could not be ruled to have done something to cause the ball to move.  After a brief pause, Johnson carded a par 4 on the hole…fast forward to the 12th hole…A USGA official approaches Johnson and explains that they have reviewed the footage and have reason to believe his actions caused the ball to move.  However, they chose not to assess the one stroke penalty, opting instead to wait until after Johnson completed his round to allow for a more in-depth review.  With a bogus penalty stroke pending, the field nipping at his heels, and a treacherous golf course in front of him, Johnson seemed unfazed by it all.  Sticking with his over powering style of play, and aided by the struggles of others down the stretch, Johnson capped off his first major victory with a pin seeking approach shot on 18 before tapping in for his birdie.  It was unanimous from that point.  Greeted by his wife Paulina, and 17 month old son Tatum, the celebration was on.

Following the round, the USGA announced that Johnson was assessed a one stroke penalty, carding an official score of 69…It didn’t matter…nothing was standing in Johnson’s way on this day, especially not an inept rules committee who thought they were doing him a favour with their bush league antics.  Major victories are never easy…This one certainly wasn’t.  Kudos DJ.

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