Dustin Johnson thinks the US Open's bumpy greens affected the putt that cost him the tournament, and he might have a point

Dustin Johnson missed a critical putt on the final hole of the US Open that would have forced an 18-hole playoff. In his post-round news conference, he suggested that the much-maligned greens of the Chambers Bay golf course contributed to the miss.

Many people, including golfers, were openly critical of the Chambers Bay golf course used for the US Open, especially the greens, which were large, fast, covered in mounds, and at times completely unpredictable even on the most perfect putts.

After the tournament, Johnson was asked about the greens and his final putt and explained that he thought the ball bounced and kicked left, causing the ball to miss the hole.

“They do bounce and when they are fast and bumpy, it’s tough to get it in the hole,” Johnson told the media (via ASAP sports). “Whatever the putt did on the last hole, I don’t know. I might have pulled it a little bit. But still to me it looked like it bounced left. It’s tough. It’s very difficult.”

Watching the shot live, it was not obvious that the ball bounced and the announcers never noticed anything strange.

Did you see it?

It is difficult to notice because of Johnson’s shadow. Unfortunately, Fox never showed another angle of the putt and only showed the replay once, at regular speed. But watch the ball as it travels between the two shadows created by Johnson’s legs.


The easiest way to see it is to look at the ball and how close it is too it’s shadow. The ball appears to have separated from the shadow when it passes between the leg shadows, suggesting it bounced off the turf.

It appears that the ball is still bouncing after passes the shadow of the second leg.

Of course, we are starting to reach some conspiracy theory level analysis and Zaprudian-like frame-by-frame breakdowns, but it does appear that the ball hit something and started bouncing. We still don’t know if Johnson would have made the putt without the bounce and even if he did, it would have only forced a playoff.

And let’s face it, bounces do happen on even the best of greens. But considering the criticism of the greens this week, the presence of two different types of grass  — the course’s fescue and the native poa annua  — being blamed for the bumpy greens, and Johnson’s tragic history at major championships, this seems like a legitimate talking point.

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