Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from Memorial Tournament over golf club: 'Just unfortunate set of circumstances'

Chief referee Steve Rintoul explained that someone, who he declined to name, pointed out that Matsuyama’s 3-wood appeared to have noticeable white markings that were seemingly used for alignment. 

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan hits a tee shot at the ninth hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio. 

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

While the markings themselves were not an issue, the substance used to make them was significant enough that it could alter the flight of the ball.

“There was a lot of white,” Rintoul said. “A white-out substance that was very much up on the face of the club, which, really, it’s very clear in equipment rules that is not allowed.”

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Players are allowed to have nonconforming 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 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 June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio.  (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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