August was tumultuous for the PGA and LPGA Tours when dealing with the Rules of Golf. Two “Tour” players were dramatically affected due to their ignorance. There are only 34 Rules of Golf that you need to know. If Julie Inkster and Dustin Johnson would have known the Rules, the outcome of the PGA Championship and the LPGA Safeway event might have been different.
There is no excuse for Dustin Johnson to not know he was in a bunker. The PGA Rules Committee made it perfectly clear that any sand areas on the golf course should be treated as bunkers. It was posted for all of the players to see. All I can ask is, “What was he thinking?” People want to blame the PGA of America or the Rules official for the blunder. Neither was at fault. The player is solely responsible for knowing the Rules for the event, and if they do not know a Rule they can always ask an official for help. Johnson had asked for help on two previous occasions during the PGA. Why didn’t he on this occasion? Would he have gone on to win the PGA? We will never know.
Julie Inkster was recently DQ’d at the LPGA Safeway event for not knowing that she could not use a “doughnut” shaped weight on her golf club during a competitive round of the event. She was on the 10th hole and there was a 30 minute delay. After completing an interview with the Golf Channel, with the camera still rolling, she placed the “doughnut” on her club and began to swing it to loosen up after the delay. A viewer saw this on air and contacted someone at the tournament and busted Inkster for the infraction. (Don’t even get me going on viewers calling in and calling rule violations on players.) Why is it that “Arnie Armchair Golfer” knew the Rule and an LPGA Hall of Famer didn’t? Would she have gone on to win the event? We will never know.
One thing is certain, if they knew the Rules neither would have been penalized or DQ’d. It was the players fault, not the Rules Committee or officials. Moral of the story, know the Rules. It is not rocket science.
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