The USGA Couldn’t Officiate A Mini-Golf Tournament If Their Lives Depended On It


Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Moron is my favorite word in the English Language. In my opinion, there is no greater insult than to call someone a “fucking moron.” Try it…. See how nicely it rolls off the tongue?

Now try this one, “the USGA is run by a bunch of fucking morons.”

The Back 9 on Majors this year has been by far the weirdest in recent memory. We all remember what happened in Augusta when most of us had almost slipped in to our Sunday Naps before Jordan Spieth soup’d two on #12.

This time at Oakmont, things got hairy when a non-golfer decided to stir the pot. That non-golfer was the USGA. On the 5th hole yesterday, Dustin Johnson was about to address his par putt when his ball tumbled over 1/16th of an inch. Dustin immediately backed off and called over his group’s walking referee (every group at the U.S. Open has a walking official that handles general run of the mill rules questions). The official there deemed that there was not penalty and told him to play the ball as it lay.

Fast forward to later in the round on the 12th tee where the U.S. Open Rules Director Jeff Hall approached DJ and asked for explanation of the events on the 5th hole. Jeff asked him directly if he caused the ball to move and he did not give a definitive yes or no. DJ was then informed that they had the incident isolated on slo-mo HD video and they were concerned that he did indeed cause the ball to move and that they would address any infractions at the end of the round.

To put that in English for you non-golf nerds, basically the Super Bowl Refs weren’t sure if a running back crossed the goal-line on a 4th and goal and they would wait until the end of the 4th quarter to make their final decision. What a load of horse shit right? Everyone from Spieth, Rickie, Rory and others have chimed in on Twitter outright slamming the USGA. Rory said he’d sit his ass right in the fairway and refuse to play until the ruling was decided.

Now, most of you won’t like what I’m about to say, so sorry in advance. If you look at the video he DID cause his ball to move when he grounded his putter next to the ball on his practice stroke. But, that in no way enables the officials to go to him mid-round (final of the U.S. Open, mind you) and let him know that he “might be” getting a penalty. Later, Jeff Hall made an appearance with visibly furious FOX Sports Analysts Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon and without saying it outright indicated that they were indeed going to assess him a penalty.

However, the real fuck-up here is that they went out and talked to him on the 12th tee box. That left the entire field uncertain of what the score of Dustin Johnson actually was. That absolutely wreaks havoc on your mental state the entire day. Whether you’re DJ or Scott Piercy, you’re not sure what the score that you need to win actually is. We all know now that this rules kerfuffle had no impact on the final results, but had it the backlash might have been straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’ve been on the wrong side of the USGA twice in my career. Once was at U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in Maryland back in 2013. After torrential rains, we were forced to play golf on one of the wettest golf courses in the history of man. I took pictures during the round of pooling water literally 6 inches deep on some of the greens. The “officials” onsite (a bunch of crotchety old men that I’m sure couldn’t drive their car farther than I hit a golf ball) told us we had to play the course as-is and it was not “unplayable.” They had a blast watching pros trying to play in some of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen. And they gave us that ruling with a smile on their face, which tells me that the USGA gets off on screwing people over. Here’s a hint, Elmer; when you have to take relief on the green for casual pooling water, the course isn’t playable. Now, I don’t really believe they like watching people suffer (that’s the CIA), but they certainly don’t have the true expertise in my (and many others’) opinion to deal with golf at its highest level.

The root of the problem stems from how poorly run the USGA is. Half the time they don’t even know their own rules. See this on Jordan Spieth for example.

This is what happens when you let a bunch of people that have no real, true expertise on what they govern run things. Almost all of the top execs and rules makers at the USGA are nerdy Harvard Lawyers that can’t break 90 but insist they know what’s best for the game. That’s like letting someone with his learner’s permit set the rules and safety restrictions for NASCAR.

These guys play golf for a living, it puts food on their table. What frustrates everyone most is that whenever players have input on the rules their voices go unheard. Say it with me again… “FUCKING morons.”

So what’s the answer to solving this problem? Sadly, there is no clear cut solution, beyond getting the PGA of America to create its own set of rules and take over as the official authority on golf. Until that happens, professionals at all levels will continue to complain about the USGA but unfortunately there is no end in sight to their reign of terror.

Hit em’ straight the rest of the year and remember, don’t take any shit from a ding-dong rules official at your next USGA Qualifier!


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