Twitter controversy surrounds Hataoka's "mismarked ball" at LPGA event

A number of golf fans thought Nasa Hataoka mismarked her golf ball on the 11th green 

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 20 Jan 2020
Twitter controversy surrounds Hataoka's "mismarked ball" at LPGA event

LPGA Tour rules officials have cleared Nasa Hataoka of any wrongdoing despite a Twitter uproar claiming the Japanese star had "mismarked" her golf ball on the 11th green in the final round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on Sunday. 

Like most tournaments on television these days, a tweeted video surfaced - which has now been deleted - of the World No.6 appearing to mark her ball by laying her coin in front of the ball, only to pick up the ball and return it in front of the coin and closer to the hole.

"Watch Hataoka mark her putt on number 11," tweeted one golf fan, while another wrote "did Hataoka just change her mark on the green?"

However, LPGA rules officials looked at the entire sequence of events and saw no violation. 

According to their analysis of the incident, the 21-year-old was actually seen marking her ball that way more than once, placing the coin behind the ball, then moving the ball behind the coin to read the putt before returning the ball to its original spot. 

Hataoka was denied victory by Gaby Lopez, who made a birdie on the seventh extra hole when the pair returned to the course on Monday morning.

Hataoka and Lopez could not be separated after five extra playoff holes on Sunday before darkness brought play to an end at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando. 

Inbee Park was also in the playoff but she was eliminated when pulling her tee shot left into the water on the third playoff hole. 

The trio ended up on 13-under par for the tournament.