Hideki Matsuyama stepped up to the teeing ground of his final hole needing a birdie to force a playoff with Kevin Na, who had finished more than two hours earlier at 13 under. The young and rising Japanese star pushed his drive into trees, but his ball took a favourable bounce and landed back on the fairway. This was not enough to stop him venting his frustration at the bad shot by slamming his driver into the ground, splintering the shaft and rendering it unplayable. However, his next stroke was a beauty, leaving him a clutch, five foot putt to equal Na’s total, which he comfortably made. Now, this is the interesting Rules question. As Matsuyama’s driver was not damaged in the normal course of play he was not permitted to replace it during the stipulated round (see this blog of mine on damaging clubs in anger). But this does not apply to a play-off, which constitutes a new round, Decision 4-3/12, so Matsuyama was entitled to replace his broken club. Unfortunately, he did not have a spare driver in his locker (!) and had to drive again from the 18th teeing ground with his 3-wood, finding a fairway bunker. Nevertheless, he put his bunker shot to about 10 feet and then made the putt to beat Na, who bogeyed this first playoff hole.
Justin Rose found himself in the Rules news again after calling a penalty on himself at the side of the 12th green on Friday. Apparently he still called over a Rules Official as he was confusingly reported to say;
“It was pretty obvious, I wanted them to verify that it wasn’t a triple hit. After what happened at TPC (Sawgrass) I wanted to make sure.”Surely, he should know that the penalty is still one stroke if he had hit his ball three times with a single stroke! Rule 14-4 states;
If a player’s club strikes the ball more than once in the course of a stroke, the player must count the stroke and add a penalty stroke, making two strokes in all.Well those two were pretty straightforward, but how about this one. Was Scott Langley’s putt holed after his 10 foot putt on the par-3 16th hole on the final day? Below is the wording of the relevant Rule 16-2; read it and then take a look at the video clip and make your own decision!
When any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional ten seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole, it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke, and must add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole; otherwise, there is no penalty under this Rule.
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