Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament for golf club: ‘Just an unfortunate set of circumstances’

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Eight-time PGA Tour winner Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the first round of the Memorial Tournament Thursday after officials discovered he had marks on one of his golf clubs that did not meet tour equipment standards.

Referee-in-Chief Steve Rintoul explained that someone, whom he declined to name, pointed out that Matsuyama’s 3-wood appeared to have visible white markings that were apparently used for alignment.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan tees off on the ninth hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.
(Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While the marks themselves weren’t a problem, the substance used to make them was significant enough to alter the flight of the ball.

“There was a lot of white,” Rintoul said. “A white stuff that was very prominent on the face of the club, which, really, is very clear in the rules of equipment that is not allowed.”

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Players are allowed to have non-compliant clubs in their bags, but the issue arose after Matsuyama used it for his opening tee shot.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is disqualified from the tournament on the 10th tee box during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is disqualified from the tournament on the 10th tee box during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.
(Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

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“It was thick enough that you could see where it was on the face,” Rintoul said. “But the damage was done on the first hole.”

Thursday marked the first time Matsuyama was disqualified from a PGA Tour tournament.

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Hideki Matsuyama of Japan watches the eighth hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan watches the eighth hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.
(Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Just an unfortunate set of circumstances for Hideki, of course,” Rintoul said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael C. Ford