Lessons from Whistling Straits
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
One of the most infamous rulings in golf came two years ago at the US PGA Championship when Dustin Johnson was assessed a penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits.
The decision was controversial because the sandy area where his ball lay didn't appear to be a bunker to the naked eye, despite a local rule for the week designating all sandy areas to be bunkers.
The PGA returns to a site with similar characteristics to Whistling Straits in two weeks' time, the Kiawah Island layout being built on a sandy site with waste areas dotted around the course.
But there will be no repeat of the embarrassing Johnson incident this year as the PGA announced this week all sandy areas will be designated “through the green”, not bunkers.
"With the unique topography of The Ocean Course, natural sandy areas spread throughout the entire property, The PGA of America Rules Committee has determined that all of these areas will be treated alike and played as through the green" PGA of America President Allen Wronowski said in a statement last week.
"We believe that by establishing the Condition of Play for the 94th PGA Championship well in advance of the Championship it will help players and spectators prepare for this spectacular Major Championship experience."
Similar rules applied to the Ocean Course during the 1991 Ryder Cup and the 2007 Senior PGA Championship.