Dustin Johnson has had a phenomenal year on the PGA Tour. He has three wins this season with one of those coming at the U.S. Open. He has a total of 14 top 10s, two third-place finishes, a second-place finish, is ranked second in the world rankings and is the current leader in the FedExCup points standings. To add to that, Johnson ranks first in scoring average, driving distance, and birdie average; not to mention he ranks third in strokes gained tee-to-green, and second in strokes gained total. He’s basically a lock for Player of the Year.
That’s all great, but even Johnson’s stellar play hasn’t been able to distract some fans from the fact that cameras sometimes catch him spitting on the golf course. Yes, instead of enjoying the amazing golf that Johnson has been playing this year, people have been griping about his use of tobacco products.
James Corrigan of The Telegraph wrote a piece titled, “Dustin Johnson’s on-course behaviour leaves a bad taste.”
“After Sunday’s gobsmacking and gob-emptying performance in Indiana, the world No 2’s reputation as the game’s biggest hitter is in danger of being updated to ‘biggest spitter’ as well.”
“It is a shame that so many viewers’ enjoyment of the latest Johnson masterclass was marred by a feeling of disgust, as the languid American repeatedly expectorated.”
I’m sorry, but WHAT? Johnson has been putting on a ridiculous clinic with his driver and making putts like we’ve never seen him make and some people can’t appreciate it. All because he chooses to dip, which requires spitting, while on the course. If you are one of these people, go ahead and click out of this post now because there’s absolutely nothing you’re going to get out of it.
“Plenty of fans will say “Who cares?” But you only had to scan social media as Johnson created his stomach-churning spectacle at the BMW Championship to discover that many cared and many were repulsed. So much for golf being a sport of etiquette.”
I would like to add that many more don’t appear to care, and after scanning Twitter, most of the complaints seem to be directed towards Sky Sports and the European Tour, which ironically allows smoking on the course to be shown on TV.
Johnson isn’t the only golfer who dips on the course – Jason Dufner is another. Nor is he the only athlete who dips during major sporting events for that matter. Baseball players have been seen with wads of chewing tobacco in their mouths forever and football players have been known to sneak dips on the sidelines. The issue, other than health, isn’t even an issue at all, but people will find anything to complain about these days, especially when it comes to golf traditions, etiquette, classiness, and Johnson’s fiancée.
There are no PGA Tour rules about the use of chewing tobacco on the golf course or smoking for that matter. Here’s what the PGA Tour’s website states:
Does the PGA TOUR allow smoking by players during tournaments?
Currently, the PGA TOUR does not have a policy against chewing tobacco or cigarettes. However, we do ask our players to be a little more discrete, keeping in mind that they may be being watched by a young audience both on the golf course and television.
Granted, if a golfer is playing as well as Johnson has this season, he’s going to get a lot of air-time and therefore you’re more likely to see him spitting, but I imagine there weren’t too many complaints about DJ being shown dipping and spitting during the PGA Championship this year when he was nine-over and missed the cut.
I’m not advocating that dipping or tobacco use is a good thing, and people are well within their rights to have an opinion on the matter, but there are no rules against it and the only person being hurt by dipping is the one with it in their mouth. Until that changes, calm down with the “leaves a bad taste” takes.
Here are some of the complaints on Twitter.