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