Dustin Johnson overcomes rules drama to win the U.S. Open and finally break his major duck


In the end, Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open by three clear shots. His final round 1-under par 69 contained three birdies and two bogeys. It all sounds straightforward and free from drama, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, as is often the way with DJ, it was anything but. 

On Oakmont's fifth green, as Johnson prepared to address his ball, it moved slightly. Johnson stepped away and checked with a rules official, who was happy that Johnson had not caused his ball to move, thus deserving no penalty. Johnson made his par and carried on, birdieing the ninth while overnight leader Shane Lowry was throwing shots away en route to a six-over 76. 

All was looking good for Johnson in his bid to finally break his major duck, until another rules official approached him on the 12th tee and explained that rules officials would be reviewing video footage from the fifth green at the end of the round to determine whether Johnson should receive a one-shot penalty. 

"At that point, I just thought I'd deal with it when I'm done," said Johnson. "I tried to block it out and not let it bother me."

Johnson deserves a great deal of credit for mental strength in the face of such uncertainty. He bogeyed the 14th but finished his round with a birdie to finish 4-under for the week. 

The penalty was eventually upheld, turning his par on the fifth into a bogey. 

Johnson is happy to forget about the incident, saying, "Who cares? It doesn't matter anymore."

It was all smiles in the end for Johnson

But several other players have spoken out against the situation that turned the closing stages of the U.S. Open into a farce. 

"This is ridiculous," tweeted Rory McIlroy while the round was still being finished. "No penalty whatsoever for DJ. Let the guy play without this crap in his head. Amateur hour from @USGA. This isn't right for anyone on that golf course. If it was me I wouldn't hit another shot until this farce was rectified."

Defending U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth also condemned the USGA. "DJ took the high road to take that penalty. This ordeal cannot be overlooked because of a multiple shot victory."

Ernie Els also weighed in: "@USGA treatment of @DJohnsonPGA absolutely shocking. No way he made the ball move."

Graeme McDowell felt the USGA ruined the U.S. Open as a spectacle: "The @USGA are creating an incredibly anti-climatic scenario here during what should be an incredibly dramatic back nine on Sunday. Sort it."

John Petersen felt that the poor handling of the issue by the USGA was typical of American golf's governing body: "The guy is trying to win a US Open. And you mess with his head like this. Standard stuff from the @USGA. #terrible"

To overcome a potentially unsettling situation to win his first major, 31-year-old Dustin Johnson deserves a huge amount of credit. 

The USGA, unfortunately, do not.