Jon Rahm rescues Hideki Matsuyama in rules dispute at BMW Championship

Hideki Matsuyama's ball finished inches above a bunker on the par-3 7th hole at Wilmington Country Club, but his ball eventually fell into the sand.

Matt Chivers's picture
Sat, 20 Aug 2022
Jon Rahm rescues Hideki Matsuyama in rules dispute at BMW Championship

Hideki Matsuyama was at the centre of a rules controversy during the second round of the BMW Championship, only to be saved by his playing partner Jon Rahm.

On the par-3 7th hole, Matsuyama's ball finished in the grass that overhangs the bunker short of the putting surface. His ball looked on the verge of falling into the sand.

The former Masters champion sensibly took a practice stroke well away from his ball, however, his ball did fall in the trap. This prompted a rules official to come over and assess the situation.

"How far roughly away from the ball?" asked the rules official. As you can see in the footage below, Rahm arrived on the scene at Wilmington Country Club to help Matsuyama, who has been recently linked with a big-money move to the LIV Golf Tour.

"That thing was not deep - that thing could have fallen at any time. He did not make it move. It was literally like the last little grass was keeping it up," the former World No.1 explained to the rules official.

According to the rules of golf, if a player's ball is moved by natural forces then the ball is to be played from its new spot without penalty. The key to this dispute was deciding if the Japanese player had caused the ball to move. 

The official allowed Matsuyama to play his ball from the sand without a penalty. The 30-year-old made an impressive par and went on to card a 4-under-par 67.

His score on Friday put him in the mix to lift his ninth PGA Tour title. He is on 5-under-par through 36 holes in Delaware and he is three shots behind Adam Scott.

As for Rahm, it has been a solid FedEx Cup Playoff season for the Spaniard. He finished tied fifth at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, which was won by Will Zalatoris. However, he is only in tied 53rd place this week heading into the weekend after rounds of 73 and 70.