Players well warned about nature of Whistling Straits’ traps

No excuse for any Ryder Cup player suffering the fate of Johnson at the 2010 PGA

Large tracts of bunkering complexes  are an integral part of the course at Whistling Straits for this 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup.   Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Large tracts of bunkering complexes are an integral part of the course at Whistling Straits for this 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

 

If in doubt, ask a referee! That’s the clear message to players from Europe and the United States about the large tracts of bunkering complexes which are an integral part of the course at Whistling Straits for this 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup.

Remember, Dustin Johnson became the fall guy in the 2010 US PGA Championship when, on the 72nd hole, requiring a par to win, his tee shot landed in a sandy area – one of roughly 1,000 on the course – which had been classified as bunkers.

Johnson twice touched the sand, unaware of the rule (which had been posted in locker rooms) and believing the area not to be a bunker, his actions were noted by rules officials watching on television and relayed out to the on-course referee.

Although he touched the sand twice, the actions were considered to be part of a single incident and he got one two-stroke penalty which impacted on his card and his finishing 73 dropped him to tied-fifth.

In an effort to avoid any such repeat during the Ryder Cup, the PGA of America rules officials have – in advance – issued a note to players and team members:

“All areas of the course that were designed and built as bunkers (Rule 12) will be played as bunkers during the Ryder Cup. Bunkers inside the gallery rope line will be raked each morning prior to play and touched up again between sessions. Rakes are provided for the caddies allowing bunkers to be smoothed as a courtesy to other players and for care of the course. during play, footprints, indentations, vehicular damage or uneven surfaces may develop.

“However, whether inside or outside the gallery line, relief without penalty is NOT allowed for any of these alterations to the surface of the ground, whether or not smoothed. Note 1: If there is a doubt about the area or the course where a player’s ball lies (Rule 2.2c), the player should consult the match referee. Note 2: Where necessary, blue dots may be used to define the edge of a bunker.”

No ignorance

In this case, players can have no ignorance of the consequences of grounding their club, especially given the limited number of players on the course compared to at a Major championship, combined with the historical baggage of Johnson’s actions all of 11 years ago, and the clear advance notice regarding the bunkers/sandy areas.

One thing about this upcoming Ryder Cup is that there will be no late curve ball or surprise thrown the way of the Europeans in terms of how the course will be set up, especially in relation to where pins are placed and such like.

“I don’t know if that wasn’t the case in the past, but it’s certainly been clarified this time,” said European captain Pádraig Harrington of a move that will see Mats Lanner –from the European Tour – involved in the setting up of tee boxes and pin positions for the week.

In advance of the match, up to Sunday night’s handover of the course, USA captain Steve Stricker had the right to ask or recommend such things as the height of rough of if he wanted fairways widened or narrowed at certain junctures.

“But he can’t say, ‘Well, I want it back right pin on 18 on Sunday’,” said Harrington, adding, “because that’s up to the referees to decide what is the most appropriate pin placement for foursomes or fourballs and what’s the most appropriate tee box to use any day. We get that notice in advance, at least an hour before play.

“But Mats Lanner is setting up those pins, so there’s no case of saying, ‘we want all the pins on the left hand side, we want all the pins on the right or we want drivable par fours. Steve obviously in advance had the ability to maybe widen a cut or two in an area or take a bunker out. That sort of stuff can be done in advance but, once the tournament is up and running, we will have as much knowledge about the golf course this week.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.