Hideki Matsuyama disqualified from PGA event for illegal branding on club

Former champion Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio midway through his first round on Thursday due to illegal tagging on one of his clubs.

Matsuyama, who earned the first of his eight PGA Tour victories at the 2014 Memorial Tournament, was disqualified from the event hosted by Jack Nicklaus after painted lines were found on the face of his three woods.

It was the first time the former Masters champion had been disqualified from a PGA Tour event.

PGA Tour Senior Tournament Director Steve Rintoul said footage of the club had been posted online and his team only heard about it after Matsuyama used it on the first tee. If he hadn’t used the club, he could have continued playing.

Hideki Matsuyama gets DQ for a marking on the face of his fairway wood.

The 📸 🐐 @gdm43pga managed to break this one from Hideki to Muirfield. I have to assume the white areas, which were probably 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 candid about it.

“Material was applied to the face for alignment so that Hideki placed the ball inside the circle of lines. It’s actually the center of the face,” Rintoul told reporters.

“And applying a little discrete dot with a Sharpie to help you with alignment is great. We have players who do that all the time. But the amount of stuff that was on the face of the club, when we got it sent to the USGA, their equipment standards guys, it was just over the top.

“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 on the par-39 when he reached the bend at Muirfield Village after a double bogey on the second hole and a bogey on the sixth.

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