Things got heated between world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na during the third round of the Dell Technologies Match Play on Friday after Johnson didn’t wait for the putt to be conceded.
It was on the 11th hole when Johnson’s 8-foot birdie putt lipped out. He picked it up from inches away and that’s when Na stopped him to say he should’ve waited for the putt to be conceded — which he would’ve done anyway.
“Just, just wait, right. I know it’s this,” Na could be heard saying, holding his hands a few inches apart. “But you still have to wait until I say it’s all right.”
He explained the situation further after the game.
“I had about a two and a half, just inside three feet for a par uphill; it’s straight putt, and his lipped out and everybody was like ‘Ah,’ and he had six inches and obviously it’s good, but I hadn’t said anything and he whacked it, ” Na said, via Golfweek. “I froze there and looked at Kenny and I wasn’t going to say that’s a penalty, you’re going to lose the hole. I was going to say, you know what, that was good anyway.”
He continued: “So I called him over and said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to take the hole from you, but I just want to let you know before I said something, you whacked the ball. But I’m going to give that putt to you, so we’ll call it a halve and go to the next hole.’”
Na said there was no friction between the two after the conversation but he stands by what he did.
“I think it’s the right thing to do. … We all know he can make a six-inch putt, so I think I did the right thing.”
Na won the last two holes with birdies, from 20 feet on the 17th and with a wedge to 4 feet on the 18th hole. That gave him a 1-up victory over Johnson, who last won the Match Play in 2017. He has failed to get out of group play the last three times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.