Watching how replay has been used in other sports (particularly baseball, football, tennis), most sports fans have accepted the use of technology to get calls right. We've seen so many calls either confirmed or overturned for the betterment of the competition we are watching, and, let's face it, in a way that has made the sports more entertaining. Yet the USGA ruling at Oakmont stands as the most confusing, unnecessary and frighteningly dangerous use of video replay most sports fans have seen, even if it was an accurate interpretation of the Rules of Golf "Decisions".
So no matter how great a story Billy Hurley is, or what a magnificent weekend golf enjoyed with a combination of old (Ernie, Vijay, Henrik) and young names (Rahm, Lydia, Ollie) playing so well, the U.S. Open continues to be the 19th Hole subject of discussion.
And I'm still waiting to hear how it gets better for the USGA.
The SI/golf.com roundtable is not the place for the folks in Far Hills to look.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): It was a brutal public relations hit for the USGA, and Davis’s quasi-apology didn’t really help. I got the first interview with him at Oakmont. Davis was upstairs in the locker room changing into his tie for the trophy presentation and I pounced on him. At that point DJ was on the 16th hole and Davis still hadn’t seen video of the incident! He was just going by reports from other staffers. It was clearly an institutional breakdown in communication and procedures. This will all lead to some soul-searching and clearly the USGA needs to overhaul how it handles things on the ground at big tournaments.
That's just bizarre.
Bamberger tries to see nuance and both sides and comes closest to defending the decision, even though he's no in agreement:
In my opinion, the videotape was completely inconclusive and I would have not accessed Johnson the shot, but to reach another conclusion is entirely reasonable. Now if you want to say there should be a new rule by which these minute movements shouldn’t matter, go ahead and try to draft such a rule. But right now, the rule is that any movement must be accounted for and the USGA was trying to do right by Johnson and the rest of the field. That is its obligation. The rest -- including Tiger and Jordan and Big Jack himself -- is noise. The USGA is not in the public-relations business. Its purpose is to stage a championship and assure that the rules, which it tries constantly to improve, are applied fairly to all.
And the last word from Gary Van Sickle speaks to what I sense many golfers feel:
Nice of Davis to apologize for delay in penalty assessment, a terrible mistake. But by Monday, he had plenty of time to recognize that Hall and Pagel had wrongly assessed a penalty and ignored USGA’s own definition that “unless the facts show that a player caused the ball to move,” there is no penalty. I lost a lot of respect for the USGA on this one. This can’t happen again.