The match Kevin Na won over Dustin Johnson at the Dell Technologies Match Play on Friday appeared to get a little testy on the par-3 11th hole. Johnson’s 8-foot birdie putt to go 2 up rimmed out of the cup, settling about 5 inches away, and he knocked it away.
Na stepped in, put his hand on Johnson’s shoulder, and told him he needed to wait for the putt to be conceded.
Even from that length.
“Just, just wait, right. I know it’s this,” Na said, holding his hands a few inches apart. “But you still have to wait until I say it’s all right.”
It sounded like a lecture. Na said he didn’t want Johnson’s failure to concede him the par putt in his head before he faced the 3-foot par putt to halve the hole.
Na won the next hole when Johnson put his second into the water on the par-5 12th. Na found the water on the 13th. It was close the rest of the way until Na made a 20-foot birdie on the 17th and won the match with a 4-foot birdie on the 18th.
“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.’ I didn’t want to be over that putt and be thinking about that,” Na said.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We all know he can make a 6-inch putt, so I think I did the right thing.”
Na insisted there is no friction between him and Johnson.
“We took it well,” Golfweek quoted Na as saying. “Dustin is like, ‘Hey, look it’s your call.’ I said, no, it’s a half. That’s a par. It’s a par, yeah.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.