R&A makes changes for Open Championship after U.S. Open penalty flap

TROON, Scotland -- Fully aware of the controversial rules issue involving Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open last month, R&A officials said Wednesday that they have taken steps to assure there is not a repeat at The Open.

Johnson was assessed a 1-stroke penalty because it was deemed he caused his ball to move on the fifth green during the final round. But at the time, no penalty was issued; it wasn't until the 12th hole that Johnson was told there could be a penalty, and only after the round that the United States Golf Association assessed it.

Even with the penalty, Johnson won the U.S. Open by 3 strokes, although the last two hours played out with the possibility of a rules violation dominating the discussion.

"We've made some changes in the light of Oakmont and being more prescriptive," said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A during a news conference at Royal Troon.

It might have been a bit of an awkward conversation as the R&A invites more than 40 rules officials around the world to officiate at The Open. Among those who are at Royal Troon this week is Mark Newell, who was the walking official with Johnson and Lee Westwood during the final round at the U.S. Open.

Also serving as officials are Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA, as well as John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior director of rules.

Although he didn't offer specifics, Slumbers said that for the past decade, the organization has had its chief referee stationed in a compound for access to video replays.

"The rules are complex," Slumbers said. "This is a big, big animal out there being played on. All sorts of things can happen, we know that, and generally do happen in this game. It is the speed and clarity with which we respond, which is something that we're very focused on. And I think it's a function of us sitting here, just about 50 yards away, being able to respond and provide instructions back to the referees, is the difference in how we would deal with it."

Like the USGA, the R&A uses rules officials from around the world, including the PGA Tour and European Tour.