Matthew Fitzpatrick defends grassing on Collin Morikawa: "Nothing personal"

Collin Morikawa and Matt Fitzpatrick have explained what happened after the American was given a two-shot penalty during Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge.

Matthew Fitzpatrick defends grassing on Collin Morikawa: "Nothing personal"
Matthew Fitzpatrick defends grassing on Collin Morikawa: "Nothing personal"

Matthew Fitzpatrick maintained it was 'nothing personal' after it emerged he essentially dobbed in Collin Morikawa for breaking a bizarre golf rule. 

Morikawa was assessed a two-shot penalty ahead of the final round of Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. 

It transpired Morikawa's caddie had used a measuring device on the practice putting green and transferred the data into the golfer's green-reading book. 

The duo used the data to help them read a putt on the fourth green during the third round.

It was their only breach of the rules, a PGA Tour official later said. 

Morikawa started his final round on 8-under par instead of 10-under and eventually posted a top-10 finish as Scottie Scheffler cruised to victory. 

The golfer explained he and his caddie J.J. believed they were allowed to do what they did. 

Matthew Fitzpatrick defends grassing on Collin Morikawa:

"And the only reason why we deemed that," Morikawa said.  

"Was because he [J.J.] had asked other officials, he had asked other caddies and it sounded as if other people were doing this.

"And when you ask an official something, you assume it's right.

"Well, apparently if they tell you something wrong one day in a different tournament does not carry on, and I understand that, we made the mistake.

"But look, from our understanding it was fine to use a level on the practice green and see how putts break and write that down. Obviously it's not."

Morikawa continued: "It just seems like there's such a gray line in today's rules. And not with a lot of rules, but just with things like this, you know.

"He said he made it clear, but I think if you go ask -- J.J. was asking every caddie today, and obviously there's a small field in asking all the caddies, all the players, and it seemed as if we weren't doing things wrong, right? I think you can ask other players.

"Look, at the end of the day we made the mistake and it's on us. Thankfully it only happened that one time.

"And I promise you it only did happen on the fourth hole because he read a putt wrong on the first hole with his feet and I fired him in the first round from reading my putts and it was what it was.

"Look, it's not how I wanted to end 2023, but to know that for me not hitting balls up until Monday and taking pretty much a month off because of multiple reasons, it's nice to just know that I can still put together a few rounds even when s--- hits the fan."

Morikawa was playing with Fitzpatrick during the third round. 

Fitzpatrick heard Morikawa's interaction with his caddie and it prompted him to later ask rules official Stephen Cox a question about using AimPoint and writing down the numbers in his green-reading book. 

Matthew Fitzpatrick defends grassing on Collin Morikawa:

Cox pressed Fitzpatrick by telling the Englishman: "I need you to tell me what's going on."

Fitzpatrick told reporters: "Yeah. Listen, I was on the green, I heard Collin ask the question. J.J. gave him an answer from his yardage book.

"I just -- you know, I have wanted to use AimPoint earlier this year. I spoke to my putting coach, Phil Kenyon, about it.

"He told me that he was pretty certain I can't write the numbers down or use the AimPoint numbers. So, you know, I didn't do it.

"And then obviously yesterday it happened and I asked Coxy [the rules official] just to clarify what the situation was.

"I asked the question and he was like, well, now you've asked the question, I need you to tell me what's going on. That was it."

He added: "Listen, it's nothing personal. Whether it was Tiger or whoever, it's just I wanted to know because I would have used it earlier this year."

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