Lee Janzen was disqualified for wearing metal spikes at his U.S. Open qualifier. (Cohen/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
In one of the strangest rules situations ever, Lee Janzen was disqualified from U.S. Open sectional qualifying on Monday for wearing metal spikes.
Janzen had just finished lunch after his first 18 holes of a 36-hole qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., and and was standing by his bag on the putting green when an official approached him and asked if he was wearing metal spikes.
"He said, 'You can't wear metal spikes,' and I was disqualified," Janzen said via cell phone. "I have never not worn metal spikes. I've played in U.S. Open qualifiers every year since 2009 in Memphis (Tenn.) and Columbus (Ohio) and always wore metal."
Janzen added that the local rule was in a letter e-mailed to contestants, but he overlooked it.
"It never entered my mind," the two-time U.S. Open champion said. "Considering I've played professional tournaments every week for 24 yeas now, I had no reason (to look at the rules sheet) to see if I was conforming."
Janzen wasn't blaming the USGA, he said -- it just wasn't something he was aware of. He also said nothing was posted at the event or on the local rules sheet.
Securing one of the eight spots up for grabs at Woodmont CC -- one of 11 qualifying spots around the country -- would have been a tall order for Janzen after shooting 75 in his first 18 holes.
"I justed wanted to get some momentum going because I'm playing in Memphis this week, too," he said. "If I could've played another 18 at least I could gain some confidence."
This wasn't the first time a player wearing metal spikes was eliminated from a U.S. Open qualifier, however. In 2006, Steve Elkington withdrew in Houston when he found out he couldn't wear them.
The most famous rules sheet snafu in recent history involved Dustin Johnson at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Not realizing a local rule was in place deeming all sandy areas as hazards, Johnson grounded his club in what was deemed a bunker on the 18th hole and was assessed a two-stroke penalty, causing him to miss out on a playoff.
As for Janzen, he has made seven starts on the PGA TOUR this season, missing the cut in five of them. He also has three starts on the Web.com Tour, missing the cut in all of them.
His last start in a U.S. Open came in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where missed the cut.
"It's not a great situation," he said. "The good news is I didn't shoot 65. Then I would be really mad."