PGA Tour

Players Championship: Daniel Berger in the middle of a heated rules debate

The Players Championship was marked by weather interruptions and windy misses. For Joel Dahmen, Viktor Hovland and Daniel Berger, however, their fourth round was about something else. Berger was still about 210 yards from the green on the par-5 16th hole and, four shots off the lead, wanted to take his chance at an eagle. However, his iron shot slipped and landed in the water. This everyday situation led to a heated discussion between the three flight partners.

Where did the ball go into the water? Three players – three opinions

Immediately after his miss, Berger fretted: “That’s a water ball.” After a relatively straight start, the ball flew with a slice (right turn) into the water hazard of the 16th hole. This flight curve subsequently also led to a heated discussion with his teammates Joel Dahmen and Viktor Hovland.

For Daniel Berger, the ball clearly crossed the boundary of the water hazard near the green, while Hovland and Dahmen saw the entry point much further back. The difference between the players was to be decided by an rules official and the analysis of a video recording. But official Gary Young decided he would stay out of the discussion and that the video footage that was consulted was also inconclusive.
Ultimately, the players decided to compromise and Berger dropped the ball between the two points under discussion. “I still think the drop is bad,” he clarified several times.

Divided opinions also on the net

Opinions on this debate are divided not only within the flight, but also on social networks. Some users, for example, stand by Hovland’s and Dahmen’s statement, while just as many consider Berger’s drop point to be the right position.
Viktor Hovland is one of the quietest players on tour, according to Joel Beall, editor at Golf Digest. His conclusion, “if he [editor’s note Viktor Hovland] has a problem with your drop, it’s a bad drop.”

Hovland himself said after his round, “It looked like it kind of started at the pin and then cut off toward the end because the wind was coming from the left a little bit, too.” He went on to say, “it ended up being somewhat of a compromise. He dropped a little bit further up than Joel and I kind of thought, but we ended up making a compromise, and that’s where he hit it from.”
One user went even further, thanking Hovland and Dahmen for “protecting the field and maintaining the integrity of the event.”

On the other side are Berger’s supporters. The shot tracker from the PGA broadcast is often used as a basis for argument. On this, it looks as if the ball is flying just before the green in the direction of the water hazard.

The comments go on to say, “the player knows best himself, if Dahmen doubts that, then he also doubts Berger’s integrity.”

The conclusion to the debate at the Players Championship

In the end, no clear answer can be found from pictures alone. It was statement against statement and the compromise found was probably the most de-escalating variant, although not a satisfactory decision for all players. For all players involved, however, it was clear after the round that they did not seek confrontation for personal reasons, but only to ensure compliance with the rules.

Team USA

PGA Tour: Joel Dahmen Speaks on Current Status of His Game Following Arnold Palmer Invitational

PGA Professional Joel Dahmen Speaks to the media following his final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and what he is doing in preparation for The Players Championship

Q. How would you describe the four days this week here at Bay Hill?
JOEL DAHMEN: Crazy time. I don’t know if I’ve played a tougher four days. The rough is crazy long this week. The greens got really firm and fast. The way the wind’s blowing right now it’s crazy. So I’m so happy I’m done. I got to watch those leaders struggle a little bit coming in.

Q. What does it do to you mentally and physically?
JOEL DAHMEN: I’m exhausted. Yeah, like we were going over it I’m probably going to celebrate a little bit with a top 5 or whatever this could be, maybe an Open Championship spot, maybe I’m not going to celebrate, but I think maybe just lay on the couch after this one. It’s exhausting and I’m happy I’m done.

Q. What do you learn about your game from a week like this heading into the PLAYERS?
JOEL DAHMEN: I can scramble better than I thought I could. My putting stats maybe aren’t so great, but today I made a ton of par putts that mattered and that was huge for me. I can play with the big boys and hope to do it a bit more often.

Q. How much do you enjoy a test like this where it’s really hard and here you lapped the field?
JOEL DAHMEN: I think it’s awesome. I wish there was a few more weeks like this. I don’t want every week like this, because it’s tough. But, yeah, I certainly enjoy it. I like playing the bounce a little bit more, playing the ground, which is more fun, you can’t just fly it and spin it anywhere. So it makes you think a lot more, so I think I’m pretty good at that part of the game, so I certainly enjoy it. I’m going to enjoy watching those guys on TV now.

Orlando, Florida

March 8, 2020

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports