2021 Masters Champion told after finishing the ninth hole that his equipment was in breach of PGA Tour regulations; Chief referee Steve Rintoul said: “There is a substance that has been applied to the face (of the wood) by a gentleman that works on Hideki’s clubs”
Last Updated: 03/06/22 12:40pm
Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament for markings on his three-wood during Thursday’s first round.
The 2021 Masters Champion was told after finishing the ninth hole that his equipment was in breach of PGA Tour regulations.
It marked the first time the former Masters champion has been disqualified from a PGA Tour event.
PGA Tour senior tournament director Steve Rintoul said images of the club were posted online and his team only learned of them after Matsuyama had used it on the first tee. Had he not used the club, he could have kept playing.
Rintoul said: “Unfortunately our committee learned right after Hideki had teed off that he may be carrying a club that would be non-conforming.
“There is a substance that has been applied to the face by a gentleman that works on Hideki’s clubs.
“Rule 4a(3) within the equipment rules speaks to applying a substance to the face could unduly affect the performance of a ball; the flight, the spin, all the performance of the ball.
“Those markings were placed there by his club guy to help with alignment. Assistance with alignment by placing a small Sharpie mark on the face or small Sharpie line on the face is certainly allowed.
“But what was done there with that substance which is very much like a whiteout substance we would use at home, was a coating that was not only in the grooves but was very thick along the face, and now he’s applied a substance to the face, which renders the club non-conforming.
“Under 4.1a under the rules of golf, a player is disqualified if he uses a non-conforming club.”
Matsuyama, who won the 2014 Memorial title, made three bogeys in his first nine holes and would have made the turn in 3-over 38.
On the second, Matsuyama’s approach took an unfortunate bounce and looked destined for the water but incredibly stopped on a bridge.
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