Dustin Johnson not haunted by PGA Championship bunker blunder
Dustin Johnson doesn`t need to read the rule reminders posted all around Whistling Straits -- five years after PGA Championship heartbreak he knows to treat every patch of sand as a bunker.
Kohler, United States: Dustin Johnson doesn`t need to read the rule reminders posted all around Whistling Straits -- five years after PGA Championship heartbreak he knows to treat every patch of sand as a bunker.
That adds up to more than a thousand sand traps on the course nestled against Lake Michigan -- pot bunkers, shallow bunkers and scrubby, pebbly bunkers trampled down by fans.
It was one of those stealth bunkers -- outside the ropes and unraked -- that caught Johnson unawares at the 72nd hole of the 2010 PGA Championship.
He was leading the tournament by one stroke when he teed off at 18 and found the bunker.
Thinking it was a waste area, he grounded his club during his pre-shot preparation and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.
That and his missed seven-foot par putt saw him miss the playoff won by Germany`s Martin Kaymer.
"I haven`t looked at them, but I don`t need to," Johnson said of the signs posted in the locker room as well as at every tee, reiterating the local rule.
"After what happened, I`m pretty sure I know what`s going on."
Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer of the PGA of America, said the unique policy will avoid confusion when the 97th PGA Championship tees off on Thursday.
Haigh said the rule suits the nature of Whistling Straits, where the myriad bunkers include some that are part inside the ropes and part out.
"They`re built as bunkers, and they have sand in them," Haigh said. "So, we`re very comfortable with it."
Johnson told reporters on Wednesday he doesn`t really think about the bunker blunder unless he`s asked.
"But this year I don`t have to worry about it, there`s a grandstand there," Johnson quipped. "Thank you, PGA. I appreciate that."
Kaymer is almost as tired of re-living bunker-gate as Johnson.
"Well, first of all I need to say it`s a little sad that every time we talk about the PGA Championship here it`s like that Dustin threw it away," Kaymer said. "Of course, if (he) would have made the putts on 18 and if he would have not gotten the penalty stroke, he would have won the tournament."
Instead, Kaymer captured the first of his two major titles to date -- an achievement Johnson is still seeking.
Johnson has come close again on golf`s biggest stages -- including at the US Open at Chambers Bay in June.
But the American, who returned to the PGA Tour early this year after a leave of absence to deal with personal issues, said those near-misses don`t haunt him.
"I`m just chilling," Johnson said of his emotions on the eve of the tournament. "I always get nervous on the first tee at every event. But as far as right now, no, I`m feeling good."