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    Hideki Matsuyama is DQ’d — after ‘particular person in world of golf’ sees guidelines infraction

    Hideki Matsuyama and Steve Rintoul on Thursday on the tenth tee field at Muirfield Village.

    Getty Photos

    A white substance? On-line footage? An unknown informant? Some detective work? Whereas it is a story of a golf guidelines infraction, you might also assume it reads a bit of like a thriller novel. 

    Ultimately, it disqualified Hideki Matsuyama from Thursday’s first spherical of the Memorial. Final 12 months’s Masters champ had the substance on the face of his 3-wood, he hit his first shot at Muirfield Village with it, and that meant the DQ, below rule 4.1a (3). However how guidelines officers bought from opening tee shot to ejecting Matsuyama on the tenth gap required some sleuthing. 

    In a press convention with reporters halfway by the spherical, Steve Rintoul, a PGA Tour senior match director, mentioned {that a} member of his committee had been despatched footage of the membership and was requested whether or not they had seen it. The photographs, Rintoul mentioned, had been from an internet site — posted footage of the membership earlier this week — however Rintoul wouldn’t reveal who alerted the committee member when twice requested. 

    “One other particular person on the earth of golf,” he first mentioned. “We don’t must get into that.”

    “One other particular person within the golf business,” Rintoul mentioned when questioned once more.

    “You’re not prepared …” a reporter began. 

    “I don’t assume it’s necessary right here,” Rintoul mentioned. “It could have come throughout ultimately. It was going to be on digicam this afternoon.”

    Rintoul mentioned the message was obtained when Matsuyama and enjoying companions Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed had been on the primary inexperienced, and he met Matsyama on the fifth tee. There, after Matsuyama instructed Rintoul that he had used the 3-wood, Rintoul took footage of it and rubbed his fingernail throughout the substance, then took his proof again to guidelines officers and instructed Matsuyama to maintain enjoying. 

    “These tools guidelines can get actual finicky actual fast,” Rintoul mentioned. 

    In query was a white substance outlined in a circle on the membership face. Rintoul described its texture as “White Out,” and guidelines officers decided that was sufficient to be a violation of rule 4.1a (3), which Rintoul mentioned reads: “A substance or any therapy can’t be utilized to the face of a membership which might affect the flight of the ball, the spin, the loft or something on the ball, how the ball performs.”

    The penalty is disqualification, and Matsuyama was instructed whereas he and his group had been making the flip. Matsuyama, his caddie, Shota Hayafuji, and his interpreter, Bob Turner, talked with Rintoul, then Matsuyama shook arms with McIlroy and Reed, and he walked off. 

    “I believe after we talked about it within the fifth fairway, I’m not going to say he was anticipating — it wasn’t as a lot a shock as it might have been if it had been unknown,” Rintoul mentioned. “We instructed him we had been taking a look at this; there was an issue with the stuff on the face. However our committee wished to provide Hideki all of the due that he was deserved whereas we ascertained whether or not this membership was nonconforming or not.”

    So why, then, was the substance used? Whereas Matsuyama didn’t speak to reporters afterward, Rintoul mentioned he was instructed that it was utilized by Matsuyama’s gear particular person to assist with alignment — and that he had carried out it beforehand to Matsuyama’s driver, stopped doing so however believed the substance was allowed on different golf equipment. 

    “I’ll say it is a mistake — I’ll say it was a mistake on their behalf,” Rintoul mentioned. 

    A reporter then requested: “Is it a good inference right here to counsel that he’s been making use of this to his golf equipment for a time period?”

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    “No, I don’t assume so,” Rintoul mentioned. “I believe we’d have realized about it. He’s on digicam on a regular basis. He steps on digicam on a regular basis. I believe this was contemporary this week. It’s a comparatively new 3-wood, it regarded like. He was searching for a spot to verify he had the ball centered within the face. They only went about it with like a paper, whiteout brush, and there it was.”

    Notably, in keeping with Rintoul, you’re allowed to have smaller markings on the membership face — “like a Sharpie dot” — and that if “the paint had been down within the grooves and within the backside of the grooves the place it’s not on the face, not making contact with the ball, once more, no downside.” Matsuyama additionally would have been allowed to proceed both if the 3-wood had been simply in his bag and never in play, or if the substance was eliminated earlier than hitting it. (This clarification, GOLF’s Sean Zak reported, was made in April.) 

    On Golf Channel, although, Rintoul provided up some recommendation. 

    “Don’t put paint on the face of your golf equipment at house.” 

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    Nick Piastowski

    Nick Piastowski Editor

    Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his position, he’s liable for modifying, writing and growing tales throughout the golf house. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be enjoying the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and consuming a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You possibly can attain out to him about any of those subjects — his tales, his recreation or his beers — at [email protected]

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