Matsuyama disqualified for too much paint on his wood 3

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DUBLIN, Ohio — Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified Thursday when officials determined he had too much paint on the face of his 3-wood he used for lining.

It was the first time that Matsuyama, who won the Memorial in 2014 for his first PGA Tour victory, was disqualified on the PGA Tour.

Chief umpire Steve Rintoul said rules officials were made aware of 10 small lines forming a circle on the face of his 3 wood. Matsuyama had just played at Muirfield Village and was approached on the second hole.

It is normal to have a non-conforming club in the bag until it has been used. Matsuyama said he used it for his first tee shot.

Rintoul said he met him on the fifth fairway to speak to the Japanese star and take photos of the club. He then appealed to the USGA and the tour’s equipment standards manager to make sure, and the result was disqualification.

The lineout aid was not at fault, but the substance used to create the lines was thick enough to affect ball flight.

Rule 4.1-a(3) states that players may not strike a stroke with a club that has been changed “by applying any substance to the clubhead (other than to clean it) in order to affect its performance when execution of a blow”.

Rintoul described the substance as a whiteout used to correct typographical errors on paper.

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

He said he closed his yes and rubbed his fingernail in the face of the club. In one way he could smell the paint, and in the other he couldn’t.

“It was thick enough that you could spot it where it was on the face,” he said.

Rintoul said a person in the golf industry whom he declined to identify pointed to photos of the Matsuyama club that were taken a few days ago. They reached Matsuyama too late to prevent him from using the club in competition.

“But the damage was done on the first hole,” Rintoul said. “Just an unfortunate set of circumstances for Hideki, of course.”

Matsuyama left after nine holes – he was 3 over par – without comment. His next tournament is the US Open in two weeks.

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