That was quite a show of power and perseverance. Dustin Johnson played the best, deserved to win, and did.
Allow me to editorialize a bit regarding the ball moving controversy by asking a few questions:
1. Why even have walking rules officials? Obviously the governing committee holds very little respect for their opinion.
2. The two gentlemen representing the USGA Rules Committee, Mr. Jeff Hay and Mr. Thomas Pagel, repeatedly referred to the “body of evidence” leading them to believe that Dustin Johnson had caused his ball to move. Did they have access to different video than we did? I suppose they did, because they referred to “the second time he grounded his putter.” Umm, gents, he didn’t ground it behind the ball (Yes, Rules Junkies, I realize this is not a determining factor, but what they are feeding the public is not true and they should be called on it.)
3. Can you imagine any other sport where a participant doesn’t know his or his team’s score?
4. Can you imagine yourself playing that well under EXTREME pressure with all this mess hanging over your head? Especially if you had a history of heartbreak and previous rules infraction debacles that had thwarted your pursuit of a major?
And that is where we learn our lesson. Johnson was aware of what COULD happen, but he played simply – one swing, accepting his result, deciding on a plan for the next swing, then executing and accepting again. He stayed in the present, did not dwell on the ball moving or the consequences of a potential penalty.
On 16 he hit a striped iron on a 299 yard par three that went through the green. A bit of poor luck. No matter, he examined the options presented to him (his ball was near enough to a sprinkler head that he could have taken relief and chose not to), hit a decent pitch, and calmly poured a 9 foot par putt into the epicenter of the hole. That was not a man whose mind was in knots.
17 was routine and 18 was the stuff of legendary figures who split fairways and flagsticks.
The entire time we couldn’t tell if he was emotional at all. He trusted his process. This is the lesson – good things happen, bad things happen, and strange things happen. Accept that. Focus on what you can control – YOU.
Here’s hoping that The Open Championship has none of this nonsense and we can focus on the stars of the show – the best players on the planet.