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Hideki Matsuyama Disqualified from 2022 Memorial Tournament for Nonconforming Club

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, watches his shot on the ninth fairway during the first round of the Memorial golf tournament, Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament in the first round because of an equipment violation.

A PGA Tour rules official spoke to Matsuyama on the course and informed him he had a nonconforming club in his bag:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Hideki Matsuyama has been disqualified from <a href="https://twitter.com/MemorialGolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MemorialGolf</a> for a non-conforming club (rule 4.1a). <a href="https://t.co/7Z1HHH0LwG">pic.twitter.com/7Z1HHH0LwG</a>

Steve Rintoul explained that a white substance on one of Matsuyama's fairway woods ran afoul of tour rules. He had used the club on his first tee:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Chief Referee Steve Rintoul explains the full context behind Matsuyama's DQ. <a href="https://t.co/6Oio4BhhpV">pic.twitter.com/6Oio4BhhpV</a>

Rule 4 of the USGA's Rules of Golf centers on a golfer's equipment. A subsection of Rule 4 outlines how a golfer is prohibited from deliberately altering the characteristics of a club during play. That includes "applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke."

Matsuyama was halfway through his round when he was alerted to the violation. He was sitting at three over after having double-bogeyed No. 2 and bogeyed No. 6.

The Japanese's score would've been even worse were it not for some good luck on the second hole.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Saved by the bridge πŸ˜… <a href="https://t.co/COEgxvobdZ">pic.twitter.com/COEgxvobdZ</a>

GolfChannel.com's Colby Powell noted this is the first disqualification of the 30-year-old's 10-year PGA Tour career as a pro.

The 2022 U.S. Open tees off in two weeks, and this is the kind of setback the 2021 Masters champion was probably looking to avoid as he prepares for the major tournament.