Dustin Johnson wins WGC, but everyone is talking about his dodgy drop!

Dustin Johnson receives a free drop from the cart path, but Rory McIlroy doesn't on the next...

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 25 Feb 2019


Dustin Johnson landed his 20th PGA Tour title with a five-stroke victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship - but not without a moment of controversy at the par-4 fifth hole.


Johnson - who sealed his sixth career WGC title to mark the 12th consecutive year he's won on the PGA Tour - benefitted from a free drop at the fifth when his ball came to rest up against a tree stump.

Unable to advance the ball toward the green, Johnson called in a rules official, who agreed that in order for him to hit the ball he had to stand partially on a cart path.

The World No.2 was given a one-club-length free drop away from the path, resulting in a clear strike towards the green and an eventual two-putt par.

“The only way I could play was back to the left. There wasn't another option,” said Johnson. “I told the rules official, ‘Look, even if I try to get really close to this ball, I'm still standing on the cart path.’ He agreed with me and I got relief.”

Golf fans,  in particular Rory McIlroy fans, were up in arms about the free drop, believing Johnson was forming an unrealistic stance to the ball in order to receive his drop.



Things then got even more interesting at the next hole when a similar incident happened to McIlroy, who was trying to chase down Johnson alongside him in the final group.

McIlroy's ball rest up against a tree at the par-5 sixth, but after speaking to the rules official was told to play the ball left-handed back to the fairway as that was the natural shot - instead of playing back into the trees and standing on the path for a free drop.

The Northern Irishman - who moved to within three strokes of the lead at the time - ended up with a bogey-six on, while Johnson made birdie to surge clear en route to a commanding five-stroke win.

McIlroy took the decision in his stride though, and later admitted it made little difference to the end result.

“I was taking a stance that was hitting it one way, and my foot was on [the cart path], but I could sort of see [the official’s] point, as well,” said McIlroy. “That's why I didn't call for a second opinion. I just went, ‘You know what, fine.’ It wasn't going to make much of a difference anyway.”


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