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Bunker where Dustin Johnson grounded club covered for PGA Championship

AKRON, Ohio -- Dustin Johnson won't be able to ground his club in the same bunker at Whistling Straits that cost him in the 2010 PGA Championship.

It has been covered up by a viewing area.

The PGA Championship returns to the Wisconsin course along Lake Michigan next week. Graeme McDowell played a practice round at Whistling Straits on Tuesday and said he noticed a stand over the bunker that Johnson made so famous.

Johnson had a one-shot lead in the final round in 2010 when he grounded his 4-iron in the sand before hitting his shot to the 18th green. He said later he didn't realize it was a bunker. Johnson was penalized two shots after the round, turning his 71 into a 73 and costing him a spot in a playoff won by Martin Kaymer.

PGA of America championship director Kerry Haigh confirmed in an email Thursday evening that the spot where Johnson grounded his club will not be in play this year.

"Part of the changes we have made to improve the spectator experience for the championship is to bring and build more grandstands and viewing areas on the course that can view golf holes or the lake," Haigh said. "That includes viewing areas to the right [of] hole 18, which does cover over part of the bunker that Dustin was in."

A year later, Johnson hit a 2-iron out of bounds at Royal St. George's when he was closing fast on Darren Clarke in The Open. Earlier this summer, Johnson had a 12-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Chambers Bay to win the U.S. Open. The downhill putt went 4 feet by, and he missed the birdie putt to finish one shot behind Jordan Spieth.

Johnson remains one of the favorites next week at Whistling Straits. Haigh said, just like the previous two PGA Championships, all sand will be considered bunkers at Whistling Straits.

"With there being more than 1,000 bunkers on the course," he said in the email, "there are others that have been covered, but also still plenty left remaining in play."