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Why Hideki Matsuyama got disqualified from the Memorial Tournament Thursday

Why Hideki Matsuyama got disqualified from the Memorial Tournament Thursday

 

Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament
Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament

Hideki Matsuyama got disqualified Thursday at the Memorial, prior to this; he had never been disqualified from any tournament on the PGA Tour, since the start of his career on the Tour.

 

Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament
Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament

Matsuyama who won the 2021 Masters as the first Japanese to do so, was approached by tournament officials as he walked off the ninth green in the middle of his first round and was informed he was being disqualified because of an illegal marking on the face of his 3-wood.

The club had white paint on the face near the impact area, bringing rule 4.a.(3) in to play, which states: Deliberately Changing Club’s Performance Characteristics During Round.

A player must not make a stroke with a club whose performance characteristics he or she deliberately changed during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a):

  • By using an adjustable feature or physically changing the club (except when allowed to repair damage under Rule 4.1a(2)), or
  • By applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke.

 

According to PGA Tour rules official Steve Rintoul, the issue was that the marking was on the face of the club as opposed to being down in the grooves of the club.


 

“If the paint had been down in the grooves and in the bottom of the grooves where it’s not on the face, not making contact with the ball, again, no problem,” Rintoul said Thursday at the Memorial. “But it was the face.”

Once it was determined that Matsuyama had used a non-conforming club, he was disqualified under rule 4-1(a).

Matsuyama’s early exit left Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed to play the back nine Thursday – and Friday’s round – as a twosome. Matsuyama was 3 over through nine holes before the disqualification yesterday.

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