Woods laments 'awful' handling of Johnson penalty


Dustin Johnson kept his cool on Sunday, winning the U.S. Open even as he negotiated the final holes not knowing exactly what his score was.

Tiger Woods is not sure he would have handled the same situation with similar grace.

"I'm a little bit feistier than Dustin, so I think I probably would have said a few more things during the round," Woods said on Wednesday of the penalty debacle that threatened to derail Johnson's bid for a first major championship.

Watching on TV from afar like any other golf fan, Woods was bewildered that USGA rules officials left Johnson and his competitors hanging for hours after the eventual winner's ball moved on the fifth green as he was lining up a putt.

Johnson was ultimately given a one-stroke penalty, but not until after he had completed his round. The outcry - which included Woods tweeting that the situation was a "farce" - prompted the USGA to apologise on Monday for the way it handled the situation.

Woods had a bit more to say on the topic at a news conference ahead of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional.

"It was awful, because no one knew what was going on," Woods said. "DJ didn't know how he stood. The rest of the guys who were ahead of him didn't understand what was going on. The final group didn't understand what was going on. No one had a clue.

"Am I tied for the lead or am I leading the tournament? Am I one back or am I tied? No one understood where they stood in the tournament, [and] that determines what you're going to do."

The former world number one said that, to him, the controversy boiled down to why the rules official who apparently told Johnson on the fifth he would not be penalised was not backed up by the USGA, who eventually informed Johnson on the 12th tee that he might in fact face a sanction.

Woods said it was inappropriate to leave the leader and the others hanging.

"It was frustrating to watch how it was handled," he said. "Because I think that championship being our national title and the history behind it, it deserved better handling of the situation."