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Fox and the USGA - Changes Coming Due to Coverage of Rules Event?

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Just now, boogielicious said:

You are absolutely convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that everyone there had the same reaction as you did

Show me the general outrage regarding Buck's question. 

 

1 minute ago, boogielicious said:

Let it go. When I said, "let's leave it at that", I meant please don't feel you need to get in the last word just to get in the last word with me. Respond to others posts. Go for a walk. Have some tea.

 

The ironing is delicious.

2 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

. You are absolutely convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that everyone there had the same reaction as you did

No I'm not. I'm sure just as Hans Moleman was the one saying Boo-URNS, there was someone there booing Buck. But it would be near delusion to think that the general impetus and booing was for the question and not for the USGA going USGA.

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Some publications in agreement with me, I'm interested in the plethora of sources suggesting people booing the question and not the usga.

Tampa Bay times:

" OAKMONT, Pa. — Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open on Sunday, surviving a controversial and drawn-out discussion about a rules infraction that had players and fans ripping the USGA on social media and the crowd booing the USGA during the trophy presentation. "

 

The Oklahoman:

"On the 18th green at Oakmont on Sunday afternoon, as FOX's Joe Buck mentioned the United States Golf Association, the reaction was quick and immediate and loud.

Booing. The golf crowd at an old-money American club — the last bastion of politeness, the final frontier of docile — turned nasty, lustily booing the mere mention of the USGA"

 

the scotsman:

 

" It’s just a pity the incompetence of one of the game’s governing bodies is the big talking point to come out of the event and those boos by spectators that greeted the news at the prizegiving that Johnson had, in fact, been docked a shot will hopefully ring loud in a recurring 
nightmare for Davis and his fellow blundering buffoons. "

 

 

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Tough situation for Fox because while they have an obligation to the USGA, they also want to be the voice of the viewers and the people. And a lot of people are pissed at the USGA over this. Even Tiger Woods just said he gives DJ a lot of credit for showing patience because he probably would have said a few expletives at the USGA if it were him in that situation. The guy on our local radio here who was a former golf pro has been blasting the USGA the last couple days to kingdom come. I know some people here are defending the USGA, but it is definitely not the popular opinion among players and fans.

Edited by ChrisP

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59 minutes ago, xcott said:

Possibly because it was made irrelevant by DJ winning by more than a stroke. What if he was tied and then the USGA comes out and says...tournament over. DJ loses! That's without question the worst way to end what is supposed to be an entertainment product. Nobody in their right minds wants referees to end a match. There is no reason the USGA couldn't have made their decision in a timely fashion. If this were on the 18th green, that's one thing. However this was far from that. The USGA likely wanted the attention and wanted a chance to go all USGA in this situation. 

 

 

I agree with almost all of what you wrote, absent the bolded part. I don't think the USGA had any intentions of trying to flex their proverbial muscles. I think they were trying to do the right thing and someone just made a horrible decision under pressure - pure and simple.

@RandallT, it's tough for me to envision a scenario where DJ wins by one stroke (or ties), the USGA officials subsequently confirm his penalty stroke after the round, and the whole ordeal doesn't result in a massive black eye for the entire sport of golf. The USGA knew they were going to assess the penalty - to wait until after the round was a travesty, IMO and I don't see how anyone can defend them on that.

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1 hour ago, xcott said:

The USGA does not sit back behind the scenes, they court attention and they relished in the opportunity to decide a tournement with a rules decision. It's the dream come true for them. DJ ruined it for them fortunately. 

If you say so :)  I'm not that familiar with the USGA, but what I do know is mostly about Mike Davis. He strikes me as wanting a bit of attention and glory for his difficult setups. That's about the extent of my knowledge.

1 hour ago, xcott said:

Golf is entertainment pure and simple. It's not about the players but about the entertainment value. We watch golf to watch players of extreme ability perform. Nobody except a small slice of rules nerds are entertained by rulings. The USGA is like Joe West in baseball, they think people pay to watch them, when they don't. 

1 hour ago, RandallT said:

And if the ruling had impacted the result, so what? That's competition. 

I'm ok with the ruling impacting the result, that happens. But waiting until the end is obviously courting attention and shifting the dramatics from the players onto the rules. 

Fox made the choice (in my opinion) to highlight the difficulties of all the players on the back nine. I don't know if there's guidance behind the scenes by a producer to promote that angle (headpiece whispering), or if they just start to think alike as the broadcast moves along. They tried to get us to sympathize with the predicament of DJ, and the other competitors who were seemingly in the dark as to how to play with the uncertainty before them (when there is typically LOTS of uncertainty in how the final holes will play). Those were my impressions- Fox was playing up how difficult the conditions were for the players, as if one stroke uncertainty was so monumental. (which I now question more, as I stated above)

I think the USGA might have a conversation with them about that, and remind them to not get so antsy about any confusion that occurs late in the tournament.  It seems to me (my opinion and speculation only, of course) that NBC, if they still were broadcasting the US Open, might've taken a broader approach along the lines of:

"These players are professionals so it'll be interesting to see how they respond. They all know there's now a one stroke uncertainty in DJ's score. That could change their calculus, and the best players will keep their cool and weigh their options and execute best. Sure, it's unfortunate, but this is the cream of the crop. The USGA truly has concerns that the ruling on the 5th green didn't consider all elements in the decision. They need the time to clarify the rule with DJ, and it's a bit of a discussion that it can't be done until after the 18th, or the delay in the play would be too long. Wow, this is unprecedented, but that's what makes this game interesting.  And highlights that you really NEED TO KNOW the rules, doesn't it, right Johnny?....Oh yes, absolutely- these players need to know the rules like the back of their hand... blah blah banter."

Total speculation (flame me if you need to on that), but that would've still allowed compelling competition to go on, and not sweep under the rug. That line of commentary above in blue is not downplaying. But it's not sensationalizing (as I feel Fox did by mostly discounting the USGA's point of view).

58 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

Tough situation for Fox because while they have an obligation to the USGA, they also want to be the voice of the viewers and the people. And a lot of people are pissed at the USGA over this. Even Tiger Woods just said he gives DJ a lot of credit for showing patience because he probably would have said a few expletives at the USGA if it were him in that situation. The guy on our local radio here who was a former golf pro has been blasting the USGA the last couple days to kingdom come. I know some people here are defending the USGA, but it is definitely not the popular opinion among players and fans.

I get that I'm out of step with the public, but so be it. I try to call it like I see it. Popular opinion on this is definitely overwhelming against the USGA. As the days go by, I just can't get myself there, and find myself more and more disappointed in the coverage, frankly. I haven't chimed in on the other threads about the issue, but I've joined this one. Strictly about Fox/USGA- not the specifics of the rule/ruling (but overlap obviously). 

Maybe it's a bit the contrarian in me, but I just don't see this as black and white as most people do (and as Fox seemed to think during the broadcast). There's a lot of gray, and when there's as much gray as this, people should be more reasonable with the other side.

30 minutes ago, Big C said:

 

@RandallT, it's tough for me to envision a scenario where DJ wins by one stroke (or ties), the USGA officials subsequently confirm his penalty stroke after the round, and the whole ordeal doesn't result in a massive black eye for the entire sport of golf. The USGA knew they were going to assess the penalty - to wait until after the round was a travesty, IMO and I don't see how anyone can defend them on that.

I'd have LIKED to have seen resolution earlier, but I see the difficulty in getting the player to understand the rule on the back nine, once they deemed that the event was identical to a decision they had clearly documented where a penalty must be assessed. 

I just don't see the black eye or travesty. I'm far short of that. I think it was a significant issue and avoidable at many levels, but I'd still love the US Open in the future. I wouldn't have a ridiculously bad taste in my mouth. I was pulling for DJ though (although I really like Lowry too). What a downer it would have been to see him lose that way. But those emotions about the loss are different than whether or not this is a black eye on the sport. Rationally, I wouldn't go there, but understand others would.

I will say I was angry DURING the US Open, but I've come to see it a bit differently as the days have gone by. Maybe folks here are brainwashing me? I look at other sites from time to time, and I see mostly anger at the USGA. I get that I'm out of step. I'm getting to the point where I'm mostly disappointed in Fox.

I would defend the USGA by saying that they were fighting a difficult battle on behalf of the rules as written- against misunderstanding of them (certainly by DJ, and likely by many other players and commentators). It's a separate debate about the rule and if it could be better (OT here). The USGA bungled it on the 5th hole by not getting it right then, so the wheels were in motion to recover themselves. Sucks for them, but they put aside their popularity and did what they felt was right.

The situation on the green is nearly identical to a prior decision. Everyone acknowledges that, I hope. I almost took out the word "nearly." The word might even be "exactly" identical to a prior decision. But that's OT, and covered in other threads (so we should debate this over there). The point is that is how I'd defend the USGA, since you asked. Again, this thread is strictly about Fox/USGA- not about the ruling. I thought Fox played a part in the current popular opinion, by the way they chose to handle it. Not fully, but a part of it. Certainly for me, they did at the time.

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4 hours ago, boogielicious said:

They booed Buck for asking the question. I saw it live. It was poor form on Buck's part and he knew it the second he asked it. DJ's reaction was like, "really??". Another reason I don't like Buck. DJ hit a 195 yard shot to 4 feet on the final hole of a very fatiguing US Open and Buck chose to focus on the negative.

I'd have to see it to have a better personal impression, but you may be right. Personally, I'd be with the folks booing Buck for focusing on the relatively minor rule issue rather than the many, many excellent golf shots that DJ hit to win the tournament. Buck should have immediately apologized for the beep in his backswing on the last hole if he was going to focus on the USGA error.

Overall, though I give Fox good marks for an excellent web options feed, lots of ProTracer use and the split screen overhead view of the tee shots. If Fox had wanted to stir up controversy they could have gone overboard about the 'no warmup' and rain delay complaints like Charlie Hoffman's. I think they were generally responding (though a bit less measured than ideal) to a real 'blow up' of public opinion from their viewers.

2 hours ago, xcott said:

They were 100% booing the USGA, not Buck. Everybody knows Buck sucks so booing him would happen all the time. Most people have a bad taste in their mouth for the USGA and they acted in their USGA way in this instance when they should've acted with common sense.

I don't like Fox but they didn't sensationalize it, the USGA did. On the final stretch of a major tournament they announce that they just might at some point give a penalty stroke to a player who happened to be in the lead. Fox would be doing a disservice to that by downplaying it. 

The USGA decided to not believe DJ and then decided to hold onto their ruling until after the round so they could...well I don't know. Did they want to dramatically come out and tell the crowd..."DJ is penalized one stroke! He loses! BOOM RULES!" ::mic drop:

They acted dumb and everyone other than weird USGA apologists agrees. It was dramatic and needed to be covered on TV. If the USGA wants everybody to never question them, they should start their own broadcast.

I think the USGA didn't handle it great, but I also recognize that they were between Scylla and Charybdis with this scenario. Fox was right to respond to their viewers / social media feed, but could have been more 'informative' about the situation and offered more perspective as @RandallT suggested.

The USGA appropriately thought about all possible scenarios once they recognized the rule had not been properly applied on the 5th green. What if Lowry or someone else closed strong and was one stroke behind DJ at the finish? Would they have been in just as much a position of criticism if Lowry had a chance at a playoff or to win and they had a bungled ruling on videotape to be dissected by the media after the event (once the media clued into what the new rule stated)?

DJ clearly grounded the putter near the ball. With the video in their hands, and DJ's clear focus on the old rule, the USGA as the 'ruling body' was right to attempt to address it. If they hadn't they could have easily been just as harshly faulted for failing to uphold their own rules. I'm not a fan of the outcomes the rule seems to generate and sympathize with the public distaste for how the impression of 'small potatoes' and differential outcomes with Wattel came through. But the rule was on the books and the USGA is the ruling body for the sport.

Say the ref had assessed the penalty on the 5th. DJ could have played a 2nd ball to appeal to the committee and the result still would have been in limbo until the scoring tent. The final act of signing the scorecard is part of golf competition going back quite a way. I think Palmer played two balls on a contested ruling in a Major and DiVicenzo lost a Masters in the scoring tent (which IMO was an awful and unsporting outcome).

Edited by natureboy

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44 minutes ago, RandallT said:

I get that I'm out of step with the public, but so be it. I try to call it like I see it. Popular opinion on this is definitely overwhelming against the USGA. As the days go by, I just can't get myself there, and find myself more and more disappointed in the coverage, frankly. I haven't chimed in on the other threads about the issue, but I've joined this one. Strictly about Fox/USGA- not the specifics of the rule/ruling (but overlap obviously). 

Maybe it's a bit the contrarian in me, but I just don't see this as black and white as most people do (and as Fox seemed to think during the broadcast). There's a lot of gray, and when there's as much gray as this, people should be more reasonable with the other side.

 

From everything I've heard and my beliefs, the penalty isn't so much the biggest issue. It's the way they went about it. That's what is angering a lot of people. If they would have assessed him the penalty on the spot or within the next couple holes, I think people would have dealt with it more. But like Tiger said this morning, to let it go on for 7 holes, and then tell the guy and the players, "Well he may be penalized, he may not be. We don't know" is a crock of bullshit. It ruins the mentality of not just DJ, but other players. You don't know where you stand. It's one thing to do it in the second round, but another thing to do it in a Major Championship where everything is affected. When that much is on the line, you need to make that decision then and there. It's too important. Now I've gone on record saying I still think Lowry would have collapsed because he he was off from the first tee shot and DJ would have played the same, but still, it messes the minds of a lot of different players in contention, including the leader. I think DJ would have actually been in a better place mentally knowing he was assessed a shot instead of playing with not knowing if he had the lead or not. Although from everything I've seen from DJ, he doesn't seem to be affected much by bad things.

 

Edited by ChrisP

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20 hours ago, Big C said:

I see your point, but from a practical standpoint, I don't know how you legislate that type of thing. It wasn't like Fox was taking shots at the USGA at every opportunity. In fact, by my recollection, they were quite complimentary of the course, the tourament, and the way things had been handled in light of unexpected weather. This was a one-off situation, and an almost unprecedented one at that.

And what it really boiled down to is a couple of guys - who happened to be employed by Fox at that time - expressing in the moment reactions to that unprecedented situation. Even if you think that Faxon and Azinger were way off base (I don't, although at worst, I might say their anger  was directed at the wrong issue), how do you tell on-air talent to dial it back without coming dangerously close to censorship? 

The could start by not putting up inflammatory tweets by other pros who also do not know the rules.

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20 hours ago, Asheville said:

Chambers Bay had some unusual situations from a Rules perspective and therefore had the USGA's Thomas Pagel in the broadcast booth all of the time.

I predict another full-time USGA Rules person will be on hand in the future.

Didn't they have David Fay?  He is not a USGA official any more but I don't recall him saying much at all.  Or did I imagine that he was part of their team?  I just checked and he WAS part of their team.  Yet strangely I do not recall hearing much from him at all, other than saying that what the USGA guy said made him pretty sure they were going to assess the penalty, if that was him who said that.

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17 hours ago, natureboy said:

I suspect many current / former players and a lot of fans just find the penalty wrong. He didn't do anything unusual or out of the ordinary in attempting to putt. He didn't touch the ball. How else is he supposed to putt? Is part of the Major test altering your normal ingrained putting routine or stance in order to limit potential penalties like this that are essentially random and unrelated to skill or sportsmanship?

I must have missed the part where the conditions were so extreme that balls were rolling around on their own all over the place.  

Players always side with players.  That doesn't make them right or reasonable.  I guarantee you that there are a dozen guys on this board who would destroy McIlroy and whoever the other guy was whose tweet they put up, in a rules contest.

The ball moved.  Something moved it.  Maybe it was the one out of a zillion quantum event when a sufficient number of the molecules in the ball moves in the same direction by chance.  It is almost impossible to argue conditions since balls were not moving elsewhere and this was not an extreme spot, neither in wind nor slope.  

So, the ball moved.  What is more likely

a) that despite the balls not moving elsewhere on the course in this one unique case it was moved by environmental (or quantum) factors, or

b) it was moved by the guy who was waving his putter around and grounding it much less than an inch away.

Now you can certainly believe that the ball moved because of some spontaneous factor that didn't occur any other time.  But if you look at what the Decision says you are supposed to look at the ruling is inescapable, IMO. 

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13 minutes ago, turtleback said:

I must have missed the part where the conditions were so extreme that balls were rolling around on their own all over the place.  

Players always side with players.  That doesn't make them right or reasonable.  I guarantee you that there are a dozen guys on this board who would destroy McIlroy and whoever the other guy was whose tweet they put up, in a rules contest.

The ball moved.  Something moved it.  Maybe it was the one out of a zillion quantum event when a sufficient number of the molecules in the ball moves in the same direction by chance.  It is almost impossible to argue conditions since balls were not moving elsewhere and this was not an extreme spot, neither in wind nor slope.  

So, the ball moved.  What is more likely

a) that despite the balls not moving elsewhere on the course in this one unique case it was moved by environmental (or quantum) factors, or

b) it was moved by the guy who was waving his putter around and grounding it much less than an inch away.

Now you can certainly believe that the ball moved because of some spontaneous factor that didn't occur any other time.  But if you look at what the Decision says you are supposed to look at the ruling is inescapable, IMO. 

The fact the ball moved and he was penalized isn't the biggest issue, IMO. I agree...based on the rule and if the rule official's opinion outweighs that of the player's, then penalize him. But don't wait 7 holes to do it and then tell him "Yeah, remember that incident that happened 7 holes ago. Well we changed our mind and we may now penalize you. We don't know. So you may or may not have the lead (paraphrasing, obviously)." It was poorly handled by the USGA and that's my biggeset problem and I think most people's biggest problem with it. Something of that magnitude you need to decide right then and there what to do. You stop play to do that. It's that important because golf is a mental game more than anything and you need to know and the other players need to know where they stand in the final stages of a tournament...not where they "may stand."

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, turtleback said:

I must have missed the part where the conditions were so extreme that balls were rolling around on their own all over the place.

3 reported situations out of ~ 130 rounds seems more frequent than normal to me - especially on days with almost no wind.

4 hours ago, turtleback said:

Players always side with players.  That doesn't make them right or reasonable.

Fair enough, but there wasn't the same player, public, or media response to the rainout / warmup situation earlier in the tournament. Public perception matters as far as participation in the game.

4 hours ago, turtleback said:

The ball moved.  Something moved it.  Maybe it was the one out of a zillion quantum event when a sufficient number of the molecules in the ball moves in the same direction by chance.  It is almost impossible to argue conditions since balls were not moving elsewhere and this was not an extreme spot, neither in wind nor slope.  

So, the ball moved.  What is more likely

a) that despite the balls not moving elsewhere on the course in this one unique case it was moved by environmental (or quantum) factors, or

b) it was moved by the guy who was waving his putter around and grounding it much less than an inch away.

The fact that it happened to at least two other players in the space of 2 days to me argues against it being a rare quantum alignment. The waxing strawberry moon possibly. For all we know the particular strain of Poa Annua at Oakmont may form a micro-pattern of peaks and valleys when it dries out that's more extreme in certain spots than others due to random substrate conditions.

I agree it's almost impossible (and definitely undesirable) to argue such minutia of conditions, yet they matter. And because of the micro scale of their influence on a slick green creates IMO potentially random allocation of penalties.

The spot may have been extreme in stimp (more tightly mowed or well-trampled), unevenness (spike marks, old pitch marks, slight depression left over from the pin setter's knee, random blades / tufts of grass sticking up, etc.) Didn't the rule as written require an examination of these potentially mitigating conditions prior to the determination of cause?

I feel exactly the same way about the different Wattel ruling. His putter was grounded directly behind the ball with an unknown amount of pressure. Two technically correct rulings under the current wording doesn't necessarily mean the rule is 'right'.

 

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8 minutes ago, natureboy said:

3 reported situations out of ~ 130 rounds seems more frequent than normal to me - especially on days with almost no wind.

Nice of you to cherry pick just the rounds played by those who made the cut. The true number? 3 out of 446. Changes the math quite a bit.

8 minutes ago, natureboy said:

The spot may have been extreme in stimp (more tightly mowed or well-trampled), unevenness (spike marks, old pitch marks, slight depression left over from the pin setter's knee, random blades / tufts of grass sticking up, etc.) Didn't the rule as written require an examination of these potentially mitigating conditions prior to the determination of cause?

Again, the ball sat on that spot until right after DJ did things proximal in time and space to the ball. The determination that he most likely caused the ball to move was just.

Beyond that, you're grasping at straws and arguing a point that you will never be able to prove or disprove.

You disagree with the USGA on the ruling. Cool.

Save yourself the typing. They made a judgment call, you disagree with the judgment.

8 minutes ago, natureboy said:

I feel exactly the same way about the different Wattel ruling. His putter was grounded directly behind the ball with an unknown amount of pressure. Two technically correct rulings under the current wording doesn't necessarily mean the rule is 'right'.

I don't think @turtleback said "the rule is right." But, by definition, it is the rule. It's not right or wrong… it just is.

The ruling was justified. Since we can't know for a fact what caused the ball to move, again, you're just debating opinions at this point.

You disagree. Cool.

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8 hours ago, ChrisP said:

The fact the ball moved and he was penalized isn't the biggest issue, IMO. I agree...based on the rule and if the rule official's opinion outweighs that of the player's, then penalize him. But don't wait 7 holes to do it and then tell him "Yeah, remember that incident that happened 7 holes ago. Well we changed our mind and we may now penalize you. We don't know. So you may or may not have the lead (paraphrasing, obviously)." It was poorly handled by the USGA and that's my biggeset problem and I think most people's biggest problem with it. Something of that magnitude you need to decide right then and there what to do. You stop play to do that. It's that important because golf is a mental game more than anything and you need to know and the other players need to know where they stand in the final stages of a tournament...not where they "may stand."

 

10 hours ago, ChrisP said:

From everything I've heard and my beliefs, the penalty isn't so much the biggest issue. It's the way they went about it. That's what is angering a lot of people. If they would have assessed him the penalty on the spot or within the next couple holes, I think people would have dealt with it more. But like Tiger said this morning, to let it go on for 7 holes, and then tell the guy and the players, "Well he may be penalized, he may not be. We don't know" is a crock of bullshit. It ruins the mentality of not just DJ, but other players. You don't know where you stand. It's one thing to do it in the second round, but another thing to do it in a Major Championship where everything is affected. When that much is on the line, you need to make that decision then and there. It's too important. Now I've gone on record saying I still think Lowry would have collapsed because he he was off from the first tee shot and DJ would have played the same, but still, it messes the minds of a lot of different players in contention, including the leader. I think DJ would have actually been in a better place mentally knowing he was assessed a shot instead of playing with not knowing if he had the lead or not. Although from everything I've seen from DJ, he doesn't seem to be affected much by bad things.

DJ seemed totally un-phased, and there is even a thread that he was helped by it. You admit he didn't seem too impacted by it.

Above Shane Lowry at 1:15 says it did not impact his game at all. So that's two of the contenders right there.

Below, Scott Piercy says at 0:45 he was informed, but they didn't really discuss it, because they were busy with their own game, and he felt he was playing great. So no obvious impact with him.

Below, Sergio Garcia says at 3:00 that he heard on the 15th tee, but he just said "yah, the score was uncertain," but he wasn't at all excited about it or suggest it impacted his game.

These guys are professionals. While it's not great the way it played out with the delay (and I agree USGA made a blunder on 5), I think the argument that this is a great hardship for the players is a tad overblown.

 

Again, it's not that I want to see this happen or that I enjoyed it or thought it was fine. My point is simply that when Fox played to the fans' sympathy for the players and how difficult this must be for them to not know the actual score of DJ, that may have had an impact on viewers' opinions of the USGA.

I feel like the USGA has valid reason to have a frank discussion with any future broadcaster about that line of reasoning. Perhaps the USGA would suggest a better approach would be to have faith in the mental constitution of the tournament leaders. If they can handle this blunder well, as it appears they did, perhaps we tone down the next time some kerfuffle occurs.

 

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26 minutes ago, RandallT said:

These guys are professionals. While it's not great the way it played out with the delay (and I agree USGA made a blunder on 5), I think the argument that this is a great hardship for the players is a tad overblown.

Again, it's not that I want to see this happen or that I enjoyed it or thought it was fine. My point is simply that when Fox played to the fans' sympathy for the players and how difficult this must be for them to not know the actual score of DJ, that may have had an impact on viewers' opinions of the USGA.

I feel like the USGA has valid reason to have a frank discussion with any future broadcaster about that line of reasoning. Perhaps the USGA would suggest a better approach would be to have faith in the mental constitution of the tournament leaders. If they can handle this blunder well, as it appears they did, perhaps we tone down the next time some kerfuffle occurs.

Good points and I largely agree with a conversation aimed at education / information vs. over-reaction.

But I also think the public perception at how the rule gets applied is something the USGA would be wise to try and understand and not simply dismiss as 'caused by Fox' or coming from 'ignorant duffers' who don't live and breathe the rules like they do. Maybe those folks are too close to the rulesmaking process to have a non-insular perspective and understand the general public reaction?

A widespread public impression of the rules as a distraction to the conduct of a sporting event rather than a protection of fair play for all the competitors is not trivial. I don't think all of that public impression is attributable solely to Fox's 'spin' of the situation. I think to some extent they were feeding off the public response from social media (probably a bit of a vicious circle). But ignoring the public 'gut reaction' on this even if it comes from those who are not among the anointed 'rules savvy' insiders may not serve the USGA's long term goals for the game.

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Once the rules official blew the initial ruling the USGA found itself in an untenable position and floundered themselves through it as best they could and did the single most important thing - protected the integrity of the rules and the game.

But it might be helpful to remember that except for match play the rules do not give the player the right to know where they stand in a competition.  It is nice that our modern communications can keep everyone up the the minute, but there was a long long long time when a stroke play tournament was just played and then at the end they figured out who won and who lost.  Pairings did not put leaders together at the end of the tournament.  Radios did not flash scores around the course.  Think "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

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On 6/22/2016 at 6:46 PM, iacas said:

Nice of you to cherry pick just the rounds played by those who made the cut. The true number? 3 out of 446. Changes the math quite a bit.

No, I was discounting the rounds played under very soft conditions. I thought Lowry made his penalty in his Third round on Saturday. 3 out of ~280 or even for the whole tournament still seems like a lot for so little wind.

Edited by natureboy

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On 6/20/2016 at 8:16 PM, mchepp said:

I see your point but disagree. I disagree because as much as the video could cause a penalty it could also just as easily exonerate said golfer as well. If a players ball had moved and a playing companion said it was because of this player, but the player said it was the wind, the video could confirm the players position. 

Just like in the NFL, the video review could help or hurt. The concept of review is to do one thing, get it right. Isn't that what we all want no matter when you play?

OH! I get a bad feeling about this. I have to admit that with all the replays, and coaches challenges, and rules "experts" standing by to explain the rules to us (which should be in plain enough language that these experts aren't needed), that pro football has become less and less interesting to me the past few years. I don't want that to happen to golf! Anymore, watching an NFL game has become more like watching a legal proceeding than a game!

On 6/20/2016 at 8:24 PM, Lastpick said:

I would say that we want it right..., and we want it right...., right now.  

I would also admit that I was unaware of the rule change that went into effect this year.  I will also venture a guess that less than 1% of the people on the Sand Trap knew the rule.  The ruling made on green #5 should have stood.  This event pointed out an opportunity for future improvement.  The USGA is sometimes eat up with the dumb ass trying to appear as Godly when it comes to golf.  Golf needs to be entertaining when on the tele, and for this particular tournament, the USGA was a huge distraction.  Fox did nothing wrong in running with the biggest story of the final round.

Well said! There is a rules official with each group. Whatever decision they make should be it! If it's the wrong one, that's on the official. And you're right, I thought a player had to ground their club behind the ball in order to be deemed responsible for a ball moving. And your last sentence really tells the tale. Instead of the nearly otherwordly golf played by Dustin Johnson on a wickedly difficult course being the story, it was all about this particular rule and the USGA's method and process of determining it's enforcement.

And Lastpick, I'm figuring you must be from Texas. I never heard the phrase "eat up with the dumb ass" until my brother, who was in the Army, came home from a stint at Fort Hood!

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