Posted by: randyhaaggolf | August 17, 2010

DUSTIN JOHNSON TRAGEDY AT THE PGA- HIS CADDIE WAS MY CADDIE FOR 3 YEARS

My pal and caddie from 2001-2004 is now Dustin Johnson’s caddie. His name is Bobby Brown and he is a hard working and energetic guy. I have been extremely proud of Bobby as a tour caddie and ALWAYS root for Dustin when he is playing in an event. Previously to Dustin, Bobby (or BB I call him) caddied for Eric Axley and Matt Bettencourt. Weeks after getting Eric’s bag they won and BB was launched as a premier caddy on the PGA Tour.

But what the Hell has happened the last few months has me scratching my head wondering what is going on with the decision making process involved in club selection and just general course management. I think after what happened at Pebble Beach on #2 and #3 that these guys would have discussed taking a more careful approach under such extremely important situations where a mistake will likely be the difference in winning a major or NOT.

Is the bunker situation both of their faults…of course it is. The PGA of America had cautioned the players (and caddies) that ALL bunkers (anywhere the sand lies) would be considered in a hazard where grounding a club would be a two stroke penalty. Did BB think Dustin knew he was in a bunker…I didn’t ask him yet, but I would guess he thought he knew he was in a bunker and didn’t need to remind him.

Why did BB run down the hill 50 yards away from Dustin, he looked like a scared cat waiting for Dustin to hit his shot from the BUNKER. I think BB has done an awesome job with Dustin and they will both grow and learn from this unfortunate situation. Those that are blaming BB for this mishap aren’t properly educated to the facts that surrounded the situation. These two guys will become stronger and tougher as a result of this unfortunate mishap, but the problem really was the errant tee shot that put Dustin in the tough spot he found himself in. BB had nothing to do with the poor tee shot on #18 other than perhaps braking Dustin’s driver and telling him it’s a 3 wood pal.

BB met Dustin at the Olympic Club for the 2007 US Amateur (Dustin didn’t make match play) on the driving range where he introduced himself to Dustin. BB is a tenacious and hard working guy and he clearly has a knack for assessing talent.

I believe these guys will go on to win many majors and will look back to this experience as a spring board to future success. Who’s bag would you rather have Tiger’s or Dustin’s….I’m thinking Dustin!!

Give me your thoughts and feedback and if enough of you are curious I’ll get BB to provide some behind the scenes insights if he’s still talking to me after this post…just keeping it real!!

STAY TUNED


Responses

  1. Great post Randy. It was really disturbing to watch the outcome since Dustin was playing so well, and it was such a remarkable story following the tough final round at Pebble Beach. The final decision to assess a penalty was probably the only choice given the circumstances. What I dont understand is why there was not a PGA official there to help with a ruling in such a confusing situation (their was even a ladie’s purse in the bunker when Dustin took the shot!)? An official should have cleared out the crowd and given guidance to Dustin and BB on the lie and their options. It would be great to hear from BB about what it was like to go through the whole ordeal.

    • Hi Luis,

      I just got your comment, so thanks for commenting and following the blog!!

      I’m trying to create a community of followers that will provide feedback so we all can collaborate on important topics that are in the news. Please share the blog site with friends and family and I hope to keep following the US Amateur after a good round today that keeps me alive!!

      Thanks Luis!!

  2. Great blog. Caddie & player both at fault. Clearly a breach of the rules and you could see that D. J. Realised as much as soon as he grounded his club – why did he not check/admit error at the time? Caddie should shoulder the majority of the blame as it’s his job to asses each and every situation, which clearly in this case he failed to.do. Sadly a very costly case of not staying in the moment. I wish them both well the next time they are in contention for a Major. Good luck in the US Amateur. Stay out of the sand!!!!

    • No 1 Fan…so good to always hear from you!!

      I just actually got your comment here and appreciate you following my golf blog very much. If you think the blog is worthy please share with your golfing friends in the UK as I’m trying to get a global community of followers so we can collaborate on the game we all dearly love (and hate sometimes). I hope to see you in London next July and Walton Heath!!!

      RH

  3. Good article and insights. My thoughts exactly, get the ball into the fairway with the 3 wood or 2 iron and avoid the big numbers.

    • Thanks Rich for following the blog and providing a comment. I would greatly appreciate you sharing the blog site with your friends and family if you feel they would enjoy reading about the topics I cover. I will be expanding my coverage as time permits in the future and really appreciate the community and collaboration of the followers!!

      All the best,

      Randy

  4. I couldn’t agree more with you Randy on people blaming BB for Dustin’s club grounding. First of all they said that the local rules sheet was posted in the locker room (on the mirrors). I was never allowed in the players locker room period when I worked for Sam Randolph. Therefore, how would BB know. Secondly, as Nick Watney said, ‘how many times is the gallery allowed to stand in the bunker while the player is hitting a shot’. I thought the crowd control was lousy. Every marshal was facing the player’s shot and not the crowd. It was unfortunate and I feel awful for Dustin and I hope he overcomes the mental obstacles that have been tossed his way this year.

    • Hi Steve,

      Great comment!!

      I appreciate you coming in to the blog and providing feedback!! That is exactly what I’m trying to create is a community of frequent followers that just love the game and like to follow amateur golf. Please share this blog site with your friends and family if you feel this is worth sharing. I do this as a hobby and for the love of the game, and hope to create a community of folowers that can collaborate on important topics like the DJ situation.

      All the best

      Randy

  5. Ye who holds the club is totally responsible. However, the caddy can and should keep the boss out of trouble. In this situation, they should have slowed down and double checked everything, i.e. position, stance, lie, surroundings, etc…

    • Hi John,

      You are correct about Ye who holds the club, but I also agree that these caddies get paid some pretty substantial money to assist the player in NOT making blunderous mental mistakes like DJ has been making recently. I appreciate your comments and thanks for coming into the blog!!

      If you feel others would enjoy following this blog please share the address with your friends and family. I plan to expand my coverage in the future, although this is just a hobby at this point and for the love of the game!!
      Thanks again John!!

  6. Randy-
    Thanks for your insight on this really unfortunate event. A much as I like Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer as players, I was really rooting for Dustin to pull it off in regulation or in extra holes and redeem himself after the U.S. Open. It would have silenced all those critics that said his final round at the Open would have lasting effects that may take a long time to recover from.

    I’m not sure how long Bobby has been on Dustin’s bag, but they have obviously had a great deal of success, in taking just this year alone. Being in contention in the biggest tournaments in the world is no small feat, win or not. I really hope, first of all, that they continue to work together, as I know the player/caddie relationship can be a fickle one sometime. I think you are spot on in saying that they will be a stronger team as a result of this adversity.

    Like the announcers on t.v. (and apperently Dustin and Bobby), I never thought about him being in a bunker as I watched it live. It blows my mind that the hole marshals or the walking rules official or someone didn’t get the spectators out of the bunker, if that’s what the rules committee designated it. I have to think that may have allowed Dustin to realize where he was. I don’t blame the committee though as they did post it as rule #1 on the rules sheet. I bet a lot more guys will start reading those now.

    I would love to hear Bobby’s take on the whole thing and what was going through his mind at the time. I wish those guys a lot of luck and look forward to watching them in the Ryder Cup. How about a fourball team of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson! That would be fun to watch.

    Thank Randy, and congratulations on your play, especially in the Senior British Open this year. Finishing low Am is an awesome achievement!

    Leaf

    • Leaf,

      Thanks for you very insightful comments to the DJ post. I appreciate the time and thought you gave to your comment. Please share this amateur blog with friends and family if you feel this is something others would enjoy. I plan to cover amateur (and some pro) golf from every angle- preparedness, physically, mentally, strategy, the courses and the results. The more comments I get like yours will stimulate additional discussions on these topics that most want to hear about!

      Thanks again Leaf!!

  7. Good article Randy on the PGA and VERY topical.
    Golf is a game of rules to which we all comply and that is what makes it such a great game especially when we must penalise ourselves even when others do not notice the offence.
    I do however feel there is some blame on the Officials for this mishap.
    You may recall that a number of years ago at ST Andrews a player failed to replace his ball to the original spot after having to move his marker to allow a competitor to putt first.
    IT was decided by the R & A that the player had not gained any advantage and there was no penalty given.
    I watched the tee-shot on TV which showed the ball from the ‘blimp’ landing in the middle of hundreds of people where no ground was even visible. When DJ reached the spot forcing his way through the crowd an area of around 2 feet was all that was visible when he touched the ground (sand area) below his ball before asking the crowds to move back. It was not as if he placed his club behind the ball which might have improved his lie. The entire ‘bunker’ was consumed by the crowd and there was grass also growing near his ball. With the rules, as stated, also mean that if he grounded his club in a sand seeded divot on the fairway, he would have had a penalty ?
    Why was the crowd control so bad and why did the referee wait until he had putted out to notify him of the offence ? What if he had actually holed the putt thinking he had won the tournament ?
    I watched the PGA official being interviewed after and his explanations and the way he answered suggested to me he felt some guilt for the circumstances. Yes, rules are rules, but some common sense should also be applied and I do not think there would have been another competitor in the field who would have objected, if another view had been taken.

    • Thanks Ron,

      Your comments are spot on!!

      It seems everyone feels that despite the very errant and poor tee shot that the Marshal’s and officiating crew should have provided DJ a better chance at assessing his position which may have made him realize he was in a bunker. Thank you for following and reading my golf blog it is appreciated!!

      If you feel the blog is worthy to share with your friends and family, please do so as I am trying to create a collaborative community of passionate golfers that like to follow the amateur game. I do this as a hobby and for the love of the game, you put a lot of thought and time into your comment and for that I’m quite appreciative!!

      All the best

      Randy

  8. Most of you including Randy are way out of line here.. This had nothing to do with the “Local Rules Sheet” or BB or DJ. The ball was in a wash out area next to a bunker. As DJ said to the press “I did not think I was in a bunker”, so the rules sheet was irrelevant. The PGA started the “Local Rules Sheet” deflection in the media to take the heat off of there ineptness at running the event. In hind sight DJ should have had the rules committee take him out to the spot and identify the margin of the bunker which was not there, if you look at the film.
    For everyone’s info, BB tried to get DJ to hit 3 wood off the tee, but if anyone has ever been in this delicate situation you have to tread a fine line as a caddie if the player has made his mind up. And BB went down the hill on DJ’s instruction to make sure the crowd didn’t close in at the bottom of the hill. This kid DJ and his caddie BB are a great team that we will see a lot more of in the winners circle for many years to come. They have been over this since that Sunday evening. The PGA has to deal with the fact that they are a joke at running events as they have always been. This debacle would have never transpired in a USGA or Tour event. Easy to throw stones from the peanut gallery.


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