The Memorial Tournament News: 2014 event champion Hideki Matsuyama disqualified in 1st Round

unknowingly violated Equipment Standards Rule 4.c(3)

Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday for using a non-conforming club during Thursday’s opening round.

The modification in question was a Liquid Paper-like substance on the face of 30-year-old Japanese star’s 3-wood. One of his equipment people had applied it as an alignment aid, but it made the club non-conforming in that it could have changed the spin and flight of the golf ball.

An online picture of the club was the catalyst that came to the attention of Rules officials shortly after Matsuyama teed off. Matsuyama could have avoided disqualification if he’d merely been carrying the club, but that wasn’t the case as he told officials that he had used it on the 1st tee.

Hideki Matsuyama in 2021, By Srixon Cleveland Golf, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

“Don’t paint the face of your clubs,” said Chief Referee Steve Rintoul. “You can have a Sharpie marking for alignment, but that much substance is above what the Rules allow.”

Rintoul caught up to Matsuyama on the fifth hole, took pictures of the club , and told the winner of eight PGA Tour events to keep his round going as the committee met while consulting with USGA Equipment Standards staffers.  

Matsuyama is fifth in the FedExCup in the 2022 season.

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