Johnson was penalised for grounding his club in the sand at what officials deemed to be a bunker – the player had believed otherwise – and as a result was demoted from joint first to fifth. The decision cost him a place in the deciding play off.
Pavin is still undecided on his team for the upcoming Ryder Cup, even refusing to confirm whether current world number one Tiger Woods will be included, but has spoken of how he believes the events of Whistling Straits will make Johnson a stronger player next time.
“Obviously it was an unfortunate incident that happened. The ruling was what the ruling was – I think it was the proper ruling. The one thing that I will remember from this more than anything is the way Dustin handled himself. He was very mature – I couldn’t imagine a player handling it any better than he did.”
Pavin was also supportive of the morale of 26 year old Johnson, adding:
“I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be raised. If anything, I’ll probably have to calm him down for The Ryder Cup. I think what I’ve watched in Dustin this year, to have what happened to him at the US Open, is very hard as a player. It’s important as a golfer to grow and to learn how to handle pressure. I’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth in him this year in that regard.”
Pavin has four wild card entries to hand out for the Ryder Cup squad and is due to make his decisions in early September.