US Open 2016: Dustin John­son wins first ma­jor amid far­ci­cal fin­ish at Oakmont

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

OAKMONT—Dustin John­son has claimed his first ma­jor - but only af­ter a far­ci­cal end to the US Open that drew crit­i­cism from Rory McIlroy and Jor­dan Spi­eth.

John­son played his last seven holes know­ing he had to re­view a pos­si­ble rules in­fringe­ment af­ter the round.

He shot 68 to fin­ish five un­der but was then pe­nalised a shot for mak­ing his ball move on the fifth green, de­spite be­ing ini­tially ab­solved of wrongdoing.

McIlroy called or­gan­is­ers “am­a­teur” and Spi­eth said the de­ci­sion was “a joke”.

John­son’s score was amended to four un­der, but he still fin­ished three strokes ahead of Ir­ish­man Shane Lowry and Amer­i­can duo Jim Furyk and Scott Piercy.

Lowry started the fi­nal round at Oakmont with a four-shot lead but blew that ad­van­tage on the first nine holes.

How­ever, there was con­fu­sion over how big a lead John­son had be­cause no­body knew if he would be pe­nalised.

When Lowry was told, he bo­geyed three holes in suc­ces­sion.

Eng­land’s Lee West­wood, play­ing along­side John­son, started the day on two un­der par but carded a 10-over-par 80 to fin­ish on eight over.

Stand­ing over his ball on the fifth green, he made two prac­tice putts. As he pre­pared to ad­dress the ball to take his putt, it moved slightly.

John­son stepped away, claim­ing he had not ad­dressed the ball. He checked with a rules of­fi­cial, who was happy there had been no in­fringe­ment, and play­ing part­ner Lee West­wood also ab­solved him of blame.

John­son, US Open run­ner-up last year who missed out on a play-off at the 2010 US PGA as a re­sult of a rules vi­o­la­tion, went on to par the hole.

But an­other rules of­fi­cial ap­proached John­son on the 12th tee and, af­ter a dis­cus­sion, de­cided they needed to re­view the foot- age of the in­ci­dent af­ter he had com­pleted his round be­cause he could face a one-stroke penalty.

It meant there was some con­fu­sion out on the course among play­ers as to how many shots John­son was in the lead by.

The penalty stroke was even­tu­ally up­held and John­son, whose vic­tory moves him up to world num­ber three, signed for a one­un­der-par 69.

John­son claimed he was not af­fected by the in­ter­ven­tion from of­fi­cials.

“At that point, I just thought I’d deal with it when I’m done,” he said. “I tried to block it out and not let it bother me. Who cares, it doesn’t mat­ter any more.”

The USGA’s di­rec­tor of rules Jeff Hall said he had watched video of the in­ci­dent and de­cided John­son’s ac­tions “could have caused the ball to move”.—AFP

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