Shane Lowry has to settle for second as Dustin Johnson claims US Open in farcical circumstances
Shane Lowry had to settle for a tie of second place as Dustin Johnson claimed the US Open in farcical circumstances at Oakmont.
Lowry, who began the final round with a four-shot lead, finished on one-under par, three shots behind Johnson, but the Offaly man can be rightly proud of an incredible week’s golf in hugely difficult conditions which earned him his best ever finish at a major.
Johnson emerged a deserved winner, especially considering the shadow in which he was forced to play his final seven holes.
The cause of this confusion occurred on the fifth green when Johnson’s ball appeared to move as he practiced his putting swing.
TV replays seemed to clearly show that Johnson neither cause his ball to move nor did he ground his club.
But as Johnson arrived on the the 12th tee, he was told that he may be penalised a stroke for his actions of the 5th green but a decision would not be made until after his round.
That left Johnson, and the other contenders, in a farcical situation where they didn’t know what was needed to lead or share the lead.
The USGA’s inability to make a call on the issue drew huge amounts of criticism, with Rory McIlroy labelling the situation “amateur hour” while Shane Lowry’s cousin David called it “appalling”.
Rory McIlroy leads criticism of USGA after hugely controversial Dustin Johnson penalty shot incident https://t.co/43OBQ1RGVx
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 19, 2016
Commentating on Sky Sports, Butch Harmon was in no doubt that Lowry was unsettled by the confusion.
Harmon went as far as to blame the USGA’s indecision for Lowry’s missed putts on the 14th and 15th.
It was three successive bogeys on the 14, 15 and 16 that ended Lowry's chances of a famous victory, but it was a brave and inspiring display from the 29-year-old and surely won't be the last time he's in contention on the Sunday of a major.
— Joe Mag Raollaigh (@joemagraollaigh) June 19, 2016
In the end, the margin of victory for Johnson meant that the penalty that he incurred was irrelevant which sadly only further begs the questions as to why a decision couldn’t have been made earlier.