The former champion Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio midway through his first round on Thursday due to an illegal marking on one of his clubs.
Matsuyama, who earned the first of his eight PGA Tour wins at the 2014 Memorial Tournament, was disqualified from the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event after painted lines were discovered on the face of his three wood.
It marked the first time the former Masters champion has been disqualified from a PGA Tour event.
The PGA Tour senior tournament director, Steve Rintoul, said images of the club were posted online and his team learned of them only after Matsuyama had used it on the first tee. Had he not used the club, he could have kept playing.
Hideki Matsuyama gets DQ’d for a marking on the face of his fairway wood.
The 📸 🐐 @gdm43pga managed to snap this one of Hideki’s at Muirfield. Gotta assume the white areas, which were likely meant to frame the face and center, caused the DQ. Wild stuff. pic.twitter.com/Ek4Oj1xeH9
— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) June 2, 2022
Rintoul said his team approached Matsuyama on the second hole to ask if he had used the club and the former Masters champion was forthright about it.
“The material was applied to the face for alignment for Hideki to set the ball inside the circle of the lines. That’s actually the centre of the face,” Rintoul told reporters.
Linblad shoots lowest ever amateur score at US Women’s Open
Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad fired the lowest score by an amateur in US Women’s Open history to set the early clubhouse target on day one at Pine Needles.
Playing alongside her idol Annika Sorenstam, Lindblad carded seven birdies and one bogey in an opening six-under-par 65, eclipsing the previous best of 66 which has been achieved three times, most recently by Gina Kim in 2019.
That gave the 22-year-old a two-shot lead over fellow Swede Anna Nordqvist and Australia’s Minjee Lee, with Americans Lexi Thompson and Ally Ewing on three under.
“I hit a few shots close to the pin and then my putting was great today,” Lindblad said. “Made a few par saves and made a few putts for birdies. It just worked from fairway to green.
“I felt like the course would be a little bit more narrow. I missed a few tee shots today that I thought would be a little bit more off, but then I get to the ball and I’m like, oh, it’s fine.
“The green areas were tough. You had to hit the right section of the green to not run off the slopes and everything. It’s a great US Open course.”
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“And applying a small, discrete dot with a Sharpie to help you with alignment is fine. We have players who do it all the time. But the amount of substance that was up on the face of the club, when we sent it to the USGA, their equipment standards guys, it was just excessive.
“And that’s what could affect – could affect – the performance of the ball.”
Matsuyama, playing in a group alongside Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed, was three-over-par 39 when he reached the turn at Muirfield Village after a double-bogey at the second hole and bogey at the sixth.