Lack of Integrity – Restore the Stroke, USGA

It was a sad day for the USGA when they decided to penalize Dustin Johnson one stroke for a rule they deemed he may have broken during the 2016 USOPEN.  Fact is, he did not.  It was decided in real time on the 5th green that Dustin had not caused the ball to move.  Video clearly shows that he did not ground his putter.  Video clearly shows the ball moved backwards which only could have occurred if Dustin did ground the club to press down the grass behind the ball.  The rules official there, rightly so, ruled that Dustin did not break any rules.  Play continued and that should have been the end to that.

I have no problem with the USGA notifying Dustin, on the 12th tee, of a possible violation.  My problem is that there was no reason to notify him of any possible rule violation because there was none!  If there had been, the USGA was probably correct to notify.  What bothers me most about this debacle, is the compromised integrity of the USGA.  Rules committees of every golf organization stress the importance of the integrity of the game, the only game where players call their own penalties.  In this case the integrity of Dustin Johnson was challenged after reviewing the video and then after the round when the penalty was accessed, Dustin’s integrity was essentially called into question and ruled absent.  The USGA says, by this ruling, you lied.  How can Dustin, or any player, continue to play under an organization that has destroyed the integrity of the game by their absurd ruling?  If there is no trust in the player’s ability to call their own penalties then no trust is merited toward the USGA either.   The game has lost all integrity.  As one person commented on, To recap: The USGA impugned the integrity of a player and his playing partner, chose to put in doubt (but not actually overturn) an on-course ruling , threw its own on-course official under a bus, left the field unsure of the current standings and ultimately called its champion a liar… All in a day’s work.  (Jackie 42)

The only way the USGA can reinstate their integrity is to restore the penalty stroke to Dustin’s score.  History needs to show that Dustin shot 275 and won by four strokes.  Why does that matter?  Because without it the USOPEN and the USGA are forever marred by the lack of integrity to protect the player in question, all the players in the field, and the game itself.  Restore the stroke, USGA.  It is not too late to restore your integrity, the integrity of the game, and the integrity of the 2016 USOPEN leaderboard.


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