It hasn’t been the smoothest summer for the USGA, and it doesn’t look like it will be getting any smoother after another incident involving a delayed announcement of a penalty.
On Sunday, Brittany Lang won a playoff over Anna Nordqvist at the Women’s U.S. Open, but not until after a 2-stroke penalty had been given to Nordqvist, a penalty that took a long time to administer. It was an ugly scene that was reminiscent of what happened to Dustin Johnson at this year’s men’s U.S. Open.
The controversy came on the second hole of a 3-hole playoff after Lang and Nordqvist were tied at the end of regulation. On the second hole, No. 17 on the course, Anna Nordqvist grounded her club in the bunker ever so slightly. However, USGA officials didn’t stop play to let Nordqvist or her opponent, Brittany Lang, know about it. Instead, they waited until midway through the final hole to inform Nordqvist about the penalty.
Here is the shot in question. The replay clearly shows the infraction although it was likely not obvious to Nordqvist. You can see the full sequence starting at the 14:30 mark in the video at the bottom of this post:
Unfortunately for Nordqvist, the penalty isn’t announced to the players for at least 15 minutes, an eternity in a major tournament. While Nordqvist would have had a hard time coming back, there is a big difference in how a player approaches the final two holes if they know they are trailing as opposed to tied for the lead.
Nordqvist would eventually bogey the final hole and lost be three strokes.
The similarities between this and what happened to Johnson are nearly identical. However, the problems here might be worse because, while Johnson’s penalty didn’t affect the outcome of the tournament (he still won despite it), the penalty that Nordqvist took very well may have.
Still, Nordqvist seemed to take the set back in stride, posting an upbeat message to Instagram. The caption reads:
“Thumbs up for a great US OPEN! Proud of myself for the way I played this week. It wasnt ment to happen. Its blowing 35-40mph out there and I had a 5 iron downhill lie in the bunker on 17. It was obviously not my intention to touch the sand but it happened and life will go on. congratulations to Brittany Lang for a great week of golf!! ???? I dont want anyone to feel sorry for me, hey I just finished 2nd in the US Open. There will be plenty more opportunities in my career. Thanks everyone for the support!! ????????????”
Nordqvist takes the shot at around the 14:30 mark in this video.
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