If you watched the final holes at Whistling Straits, you probably did not notice a careless mistake, which turned into an egregious error, which finally left Mr. Johnson on the outside looking in, with now no chance to further compete for a U.S. Open title.
With a one stroke lead playing the final hole, his tee shot carried to a patch of dirt, or trampled grass, (so he thought) on a slope surrounded by spectators.
After assessing his next shot, he selects his club, takes a stance, and fires away. What happened next would not matter. He finishes the hole with a bogey, and prepares himself for a possible three way playoff.
Suddenly Mr. Johnson is approached by a rules official, a discussion ensues, and Mr. Johnson heads for the showers. He is finished when he learned he incurred a two stroke penalty. Yep, he agreed after hearing the evidence, but now the question: is it fair, and who is to blame?
In all sports there must be an absoluteness of rules, and what happened to Mr. Johnson would have happened to all players, therefore the ruling was fair. You cannot ground your club in a hazard and all players know this.
The issue on the table which caused the grief however: who knew it was a bunker? Thousands have trampled through that area, and the PGA is partly responsible for not making sure the area LOOKED like a bunker, properly raked, and the volunteer staff keeping people out of those areas.
Mr. Johnson’s caddie could also share a little blame for not being more alert. But the ultimate blame, and therefore the only one truly responsible for the meltdown is Mr Johnson. Unfortunate yes, but he should have known where his ball was, and asked for ruling assistance if he desired.
He was not truly thinking of the moment, and simply lost his focus. He had to have been thinking of his next shot, what club, trajectory, and lost sight of what was most important: where was the ball lying?
So while the PGA could have helped more by having a bunker in better shape; while his caddie could have helped him with a word of caution; ultimately there are rules which define the parameter of the sport, under which all players are subject, and the winner came out heads and shoulders over all others playing by the same rules.
Bitter? You bet. Painful? Even more, and many will cry and say ‘this is why I do not play golf,’ but people in government can learn a few lessons as well.
There is an attack on Sheriff Joe in Arizona because of his law abiding head on his shoulders and his simple approach in regard to illegal immigration. He is threatened by the feds, and he is used as an example by they in power who hate to be challenged, but the good sheriff plays the ball where it lies- he takes his shot without penalty and plays by the rules of law.
And for this reason, he is thought to be a challenger of the wide left as they seek to silence the efforts of the sheriff. A United States sheriff has a very, very wide latitude of power to display states rights, and this really is the issue: the federal government hates this independent authority and views it as a threat to the implementation of further leftist policies, but the good sheriff knows the rules, and he understands that the operative word here in Arizona is ILLEGAL.
It was illegal for Mr. Johnson to ground his club in a hazard and there were serious consequences. If you are an illegal in Arizona, there are also consequences. The policy of the left wants to change the rules and would say it was unfair for Mr. Johnson to lose because of a technicality; they also want to change border laws so they can pad the registration list with lifelong democrats.
Sherriff Joe says ‘we have laws here,’ and for this reason he is vilified. The government could take a few lessons here. Mr. Johnson for not whining and taking his medicine like a man who make a careless mistake; he did not find fault with the rules of the game, and Sheriff Joe, who also sets an excellent example by enforcing the rules of law which are already in place.
Lastly, our original question: is it fair that a man can lose an event under such shadowy circumstances, and it is also fair that Sheriff Joe hold his position on states rights in the midst of opposition by the feds? The same rules that define the parameters of a game are identical to the existing immigration laws of AZ, so the answer is a thunderous ‘yes!’ It is not only fair, but it right.
The government may cry and protest about the acts of a sheriff, but he is 100% correct in his actions. There will be, and are many who disapprove, as there are many who thought Mr. Johnson was wronged, but there must be absolutes. If rules and laws do not have teeth, then why have them? Sorry Mr. Johnson for losing, but congrats for taking it well, and kudos to the sheriff for not caving under intense pressure.