It seems bizarre rules situations always follow Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open, and this year is no different.
But at least this time the solution was clear-cut, and no damage was done.
During the second round on Friday, Johnson hit his drive on the par-5 7th hole wide right into fescue, just a few yards from playing partner Jordan Spieth’s own drive. But when Johnson arrived to search for his ball, he accidentally touched Jordan’s ball with his foot.
A rules official was called in, and no penalty was assessed, in accordance with Rule 18-4 which states, “if a fellow-competitor, his caddie or his equipment moves the player’s ball, touches it or causes it to move, there is no penalty. If the ball is moved, it must be replaced.” Since Johnson could not determine exactly where the original spot was, Spieth was given a free drop as is required by Rule 20-3c, which states, “if it is impossible to determine the spot where the ball is to be placed or replaced, the ball must be dropped as near as possible to the place where it lay but not in a hazard or on a putting green.”
Spieth ended up making birdie on the hole to move to one under for the tournament, while Johnson made par.