Monday, June 20
Bitter Ending for Lowry, Sweet Redemption for DJ
By Brian Keogh
Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
SHANE LOWRY CONFESSED HE WAS "bitterly disappointed" to blow a four-shot lead but insisted that Dustin Johnson deserved his US Open triumph despite a rules decision delay that took some drama out of the back nine. The 29-year old from Offaly dropped three shots on the front nine to fall behind, then three-putted the 14th, 15th and 16th and carded a six over 76 to end up tied for second, three behind the eventual champion on one under.
Though he birdied the last and the scoreboard showed a 68 for a four shot win on five under par, Johnson was handed a one-stroke penalty for causing his ball to move at the fifth and signed for a 69 and three shot win on four under 276.
"I'm bitterly disappointed, standing here," Lowry said. "It's not easy to get yourself in a position I got myself in today. It was there for the taking and I didn't take it. But you can only learn from your mistakes. I always say it's only a mistake if you don't learn from it."
Lowry tied for second with Jim Furyk (66) and Scott Piercy (69) on one under par 279 as controversy raged over the USGA's handling of Johnson's rules infraction. The timing of the penalty caused confusion for millions of television viewers and left the players uncertain of exactly where they stood.
Johnson said at the fifth he had not caused his ball to move but officials reviewed video evidence and came back out to tell him at the 12th that they believed he had a case to answer. As Johnson was adamant he was in the right, the officials opted to wait until after the round to discuss it with him in more detail and show him the video and explain their exact interpretation of the rule.
In the end, he was not penalised until after he had finished on the 18th, hitting a stellar approach to five feet and rolling in the putt for birdie.
"We were told walking on 12," Lowry said when asked at which point he became aware that Johnson might be one shot worse off that the leaderboards suggested.
"No, it didn't affect the way I played. If anything, I credit Dustin for playing the way he played on the way in, having that hanging over him, because I probably would have wanted to know straightaway if it was me. So yeah, that's what we were told."
It was sad end to a wonderful week for the 29-year old from Offaly, but for Johnson, who three putted the 72nd hole to lose the US Open to Jordan Spieth last year, it was sweet redemption.
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.