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2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Discussion Thread

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6 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

Thanks, I shut it off after he finished 18 and really didn't think they were going to penalize him given there wasn't any video evidence.  I agree with what Jack said, golf is a game of honor, if DJ said he did nothing to move the ball and there isn't video to say otherwise, then the benefit of the doubt goes to the golfer, otherwise this honor stuff is a bunch of crap.  

There was video evidence.  The ball moved back maybe 1 dimple, very slightly.  DJ didn't cause it to move, ostensibly but understanding the rule better than when I first posted on this topic and having seen that video, I've changed my opinion and now believe the ruling was correct.  It was not handled well but as the rule is currently written, I believe the penalty should have been assessed.

Edited by Gunther

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I think the slope of the greens and the speed they are running at in that tournament actually favor the fact that DJ didn't move the ball. 

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14 hours ago, iacas said:

Then what caused it to move? Can you say so with more certainty than DJ caused it to move?

The facts are that DJ was very close and the ball moved right after actions he took very very close to the ball.

He grounds his club a couple times very close to the ball and lifts the putter and does nothing else.  Maybe the grounding on the practice stroke caused a little bit of moisture shifts from or to those areas and near the ball so that lets some blades of grass shift enough for the ball to settle on the very high stimpy area.  It may have moved even if he had walked back for one last look from a yard away.

I still think it was bull.  Ref was there, DJ did not consider he caused the move.  So did Lee, both caddies and the ref.

And, even if DJ did win by enough for the penalty to not 'matter' in terms of his win.  I still think he should have disputed it.  Marking a score card wrong intentionally is wrong even if you added a stroke just to be classy to diffuse a stupid situation.

DJ dealt with it like a winner and earned a LOT of fans.

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36 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

And this is where I wasn't sure. I thought it had to be indisputable proof he caused it move in order to assess the penalty.

Here's the decision (bold print mine, where parts seem most applicable).  As @iacas said, it's "more likely than not."

Quote

BALL AT REST MOVED BY PLAYER, PARTNER, CADDIE OR EQUIPMENT

18-2/0.5

Weight of Evidence Standard for Determining Whether Player Caused His Ball to Move

When a player's ball at rest moves, the cause of the ball's movement has to be assessed. In many situations, the answer will be obvious: the player may have kicked the ball inadvertently, dropped his equipment on it, or otherwise clearly caused it to move; alternatively, the player may have taken no action near the ball and something else (such as a spectator or animal) clearly caused it to move.

In other situations, however, there may be some question as to why the ball moved - e.g., because it is less than certain that the player's actions near the ball caused it to move, or because multiple factors were present that potentially might have caused the ball to move. All relevant information must be considered and the weight of the evidence must be evaluated (Decision 34-3/9). Depending on the circumstances, the relevant considerations may include, but are not limited to:

The nature of any actions taken near the ball (e.g., movement of loose impediments, practice swings, grounding club, taking stance, etc.),

Time elapsed between such actions and the movement of the ball,

The lie of the ball before it moved (e.g., on a closely-mown area, perched on longer grass, on a surface imperfection, etc.),

The conditions of the ground near the ball (e.g., degree of slope, presence of surface irregularities, etc.), and

Wind, rain and other weather conditions.

If the weight of evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the player caused the ball to move, even though that conclusion is not free from doubt, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 and the ball must be replaced. Otherwise, the player incurs no penalty and the ball is played as it lies unless some other Rule applies (e.g., Rule 18-1).

With reference to the considerations above, examples of situations where the weight of the evidence would indicate that the player caused the ball to move are:

A player's ball lies on a flat portion of the putting green on a day with light winds. The player addresses the ball and the ball immediately moves. Under these circumstances, it is more likely than not that the act of addressing the ball caused the ball to move.

A player's ball lies on a tuft of grass in the rough. The player takes several practice swings near the ball, with the club coming into contact with grass in the process. Almost immediately, the ball then moves vertically down in the grass. Under these circumstances, it is more likely than not that the practice swings, in conjunction with the lie of the ball, caused the movement of the ball.

With reference to the considerations above, examples of situations where the weight of the evidence would indicate that the player did not cause the movement are:

On a very windy day, a player addresses the ball on the putting green. A short time later the ball moves slightly in the direction the wind is blowing. The strength and direction of the wind and the delay in the movement of the ball after the club was grounded indicate that factors other than the player are more likely than not to have caused the movement.

A player's ball lies on an upslope in a closely-mown area. He makes a practice swing, but does so some distance from the ball as he is concerned that the ball may move. He carefully takes his stance but does not ground his club. Prior to making his backswing for the stroke, the ball moves. As the ball did not move while the player made the practice swing or took his stance, it is more likely than not that other factors (i.e., the ball's lie on an upslope) caused the ball to move. (New)

44 minutes ago, iacas said:

"They" didn't truly talk to him. The RO's initial interaction was very brief, and DJ, not knowing the rule himself, did not give a full accounting of the situation.

I listened again this morning, and here's what it sounds like:

Quote

DJ (looking toward his caddie, Westwood and his caddie, as DJ moves off the ball): (partly inaudible)…I didn’t address it.

(a couple sentences back and forth—poor audio)

(Westwood?): It rolled that way, but you hadn’t addressed it.

RO comes over to DJ

DJ: Now my ball, before, my putter was in the air, and it was inside the ball, and it rolled backwards.

RO: OK. You hadn’t … 

DJ: No…

RO:  You hadn’t grounded the putt or anything? It just moved?

DJ: Yep.

RO: OK. Just play it from where it lies.

 

44 minutes ago, iacas said:

The players don't know the rules very well. Many of them still seem to think addressing the ball still matters.

Nor do the announcers. As the group was walking off the green, the talking heads said this (I think I've attributed Azinger and Faxon correctly--voices are similar on the lousy Fox audio equipment):

Quote

Azinger: I tell you what, he clearly did not ground the putter there, so good.

Faxon: So therefore, yeah, that really clarified…

Azinger: Yep. Good, good, good. No penalty.

Buck: If he had caused it to move?

Azinger: If he had caused it to move then he’d have gotten a one shot penalty and replaced the ball.

Buck: Love that new rule.

:doh::doh::doh:

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13 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

Nor do the announcers. As the group was walking off the green, the talking heads said this (I think I've attributed Azinger and Faxon correctly--voices are similar on the lousy Fox audio equipment):

:doh::doh::doh:

Nor does the rules official if he asked if Dustin if he grounded the putter. Due diligence was not done by the rules official. In the end they should have spent more time on it there at that moment. 

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2 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Nor does the rules official if he asked if Dustin if he grounded the putter. Due diligence was not done by the rules official. In the end they should have spent more time on it there at that moment. 

"RO:  You hadn’t grounded the putt or anything? It just moved? "

 

"or anything" - pretty much, do you think you did ANYTHING to move the ball.

answer "no"

I don't see the issue, unless you get really nuanced and complicated in rationalizing it

the new rule is better, but still goofy, hopefully this will allow opportunity for further cleanup

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

The delay in timing matters. If you do something and something else immediately happens, you're more likely to have caused it than six seconds later. And the greens were not 15.

I agree with this but I see a delay in the video yesterday too.  I don't consider that immediate.  I also factor in that his action that supposedly caused the movement was touching the ground beside the ball, yet when it moved (1/2 second or so later - not a lot of time but certainly not immediately) it clearly moved straight backwards.  If his ground touching caused the movement, I'd expect that ball to move in that direction.

But here's the thing:  by no means whatsoever am I saying he should not have been penalized.  But what I am saying is that in this very grey area of whether or not he caused the ball to move, perhaps you can say like you said above that it's 51% likely that he did.  That's cool, I'm down with that .... IF the RO made that call right then and there.  (Also, if DJ had not consulted an RO and just made the call himself, I'd be OK with them handling exactly like they did afterwards too)

Once he didn't do that, then I'm of the opinion that that call should have factored into the discussion afterwards.  What should have come out of that meeting is a story a week or two later that "hey, guess what, it turns out the on-course RO screwed up and should have handled DJs ball moving incident differently.  They are even saying that he probably deserved a penalty."  Then in their offseason meetings and seminars they will make this a point of emphasis with the ROs for next year.

Of course, this is a philosophical difference between me and many golf rules "diehards" (for lack of a better word) because I'm also one of those guys who thinks referees in the big team sports should not be robots and should consider the situation when making calls.  I'm admittedly not a "hey, the rules are the rules" type person, so .... :-P

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I am not as offended by the application of the rule as I am by the fact the referee can be overruled hours later and after the completion of the round.

Mistakes are made by officials in any game or sport.

Whether or not the referee made the correct ruling once that ruling is made it should stand. No more second looks.

Didn't the rules committee violate it own rules by overruling the referee?

34-2. Referee's Decision

If a referee has been appointed by the Committee, his decision is final.

Had Johnson not consulted with a referee and got a ruling then I could see an instance whereby an actual ruling could be made afterwards.

In this case Johnson did the right thing and got a ruling therefore it should stand regardless. I am not a rules geek so perhaps someone can explain to me why USGA's own rule 34-2 did not apply here?

Does this mean now players not only have to get the referee's ruling but should wait until the rules committee has had a chance to give it their blessing too. Should make for a long round of golf.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ay33660

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Another golfer had his ball move after grounding the club behind it (before DJ) and the rules official was consulted, told him to replace the ball and play.  I don't get how one was a penalty and the other wasn't.  

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USGA getting it in the neck for advising DJ about the possible penalty (inter alia)

I'm not sure that that was wrong. What if DJ had a one shot lead on the last hole, and didn't know about the possible penalty. He would probably play for a safe par, in the belief that he would win when in reality he would need to make a birdie if he was going to be penalised.

It cuts both ways and I have some sympathy for the USGA.

 

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I think the ruling that was made at the time on the 5th green was correct.  Golf does not need an instant replay hours after the original call.  If they must dick around like this, then they need to stop all play, review the video and get it right within a few minutes.  When they decide to do this, say good bye to televised golf.  The USGA officials may have very well been correct in that the 51% rule was in effect.  Where they are wrong is that they became the story for the last two hours of the broadcast.  In the future, the local official will most likely asses a penalty stroke every time they are called in on a similar situation.  Nobody likes being overruled on national television.  I do lean toward the belief that DJ caused the ball to move, but there is no proof, not even 51%.  There is only an opinion.  

I also don't understand why tour golfers take such a chance of making practice strokes at such a close proximity to the ball.  A one stroke penalty can change a career. 

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I saw the vid again this morning and the only reason why I think I believe DJ that he didn't cause the ball to move (by putter touching it) because if he did I would have thought the ball would have rocked slightly forward first and THEN backwards. Didn't see it move forward at all.

Now causing the ball to move just by grounding it during the practice stroke (which I think what happened with ball moving back toward the putter just a delayed response to the 'vibration') is also a penalty then, well, it's a penalty like assessed.

I don't blame the USGA too much in how they handled it because I think always better to err on the side of caution, which I think they took it a bit too far, but that's it. Firing without being sure would have been a graver issue.  

14 minutes ago, ay33660 said:

I am not as offended by the application of the rule as I am by the fact the referee can be overruled hours later and after the completion of the round.

Mistakes are made by officials in any game or sport.

Whether or not the referee made the correct ruling once that ruling is made it should stand. No more second looks.

Had Johnson not consulted with a referee and got a ruling then I could see an instance whereby an actual ruling could be made afterwards.

In this case Johnson did the right thing and got a ruling therefore it should stand regardless.

Does this mean now players not only have to get the referee's ruling but should wait until the rules committee has had a chance to give it their blessing too. Should make for a long round of golf.

Interesting that all this controversy over the movement of the equivalent of one dimple yet the determination of line of sight relief involves many feet.

 

 

 

 

I understand the disapproval, but let's be honest, how often do this type of situation actually occur? Compared to other sports/games, golf has much fewer controversial incidences like this.

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Personally, I feel this whole thing is less about the rule itself and more about the application of the rule by the USGA.  If we agree that DJ did perform a rule infraction, and I'm sure the USGA had already made up their minds that they were going to apply it, then he should of been told on hole # 12 that the penalty will be applied so everything could be adjusted and changed; scoreboards, fox and their online leaderboard, PGA Tour radio and their reporting, my PGA Tour app, etc. .  That would have prevented the lingering nature of this whole fiasco during the last part of the tournament and would have made things crystal clear, end of story. 

The USGA handled this whole situation poorly.  The official that was with DJ's group screwed up, big time and the USGA should say that he did and say that they reversed / made the change due to the mistake instead of beating around the bush about it. 

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

I'm not a die hard USGA guy.

They got the ruling right. Not only did they get it right by how it's written, they got it right by how it should be.

On the latter issue some will disagree, but on the former, you can't really disagree. It's almost literally out of the Decision which clarifies "causes the ball to move."

I agree. Except that unfortunately most people will have already formed their opinion and have moved on, so they'll be stuck with their original opinion.

No.  The rule should be that if the ball moves, unless the ball is touched by the putter, you replace it.  DJ gained no advantage - in fact he had to hit a longer putt.  Oh wait, maybe 1/16" longer.  The ball moved AFTER DJ moved his putter, not as he did so. It is speculation to say that he caused the ball to move.  You can't assess a penalty based on speculation. 

Edited by tdiii

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Is till maintain that with the slope and speed of these greens, the possibilities for the ball moving for reasons beside a putter go up dramatically. 

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I am of the opinion DJ needs to learn what "grounding" the club is. He says didn't. The replays I saw show that he did.  If he knew he did, then perhaps he was trying save a stroke by not agreeing that he did. If he really is ignorant of the rules, and their application, then this is just as much his fault as the USGA. Just a guess on my part. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, xcott said:

Is till maintain that with the slope and speed of these greens, the possibilities for the ball moving for reasons beside a putter go up dramatically. 

What reasons?  DJ gave no other reason--when specifically asked--to the USGA ruling official when they were on the 12th hole.

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4 minutes ago, tdiii said:

No.  The rule should be that if the ball moves, unless the ball is touched by the putter, you replace it.  DJ gained no advantage - in fact he had to hit a longer putt.  Oh way, maybe 1/16" longer.  The ball moved AFTER DJ moved his putter, not as he did so. It is speculation to say that he caused the ball to move.  You can't assess a penalty based on speculation. 

I agree, if you're permitted to ground your club, you don't come in contact with the ball and you don't gain an advantage, there shouldn't be a penalty.  I have seen some golfers ground their club in the rough to push down the grass behind the ball to make better contract with the ball and gain an advantage.  If the ball moves in that circumstance, a penalty should be called, but on the green, it's a non penalty.  

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Note: This thread is 1186 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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