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Jon Rahm has another rules incident at the British Open

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Two weeks after his rules-related debacle at the Irish Open, Jon Rahm is again butting up against the Rules of Golf at Royal Birkdale.

The Spaniard, who carded an opening-round one-under 69, was approach his ball in the rough at the 17th hole. Rahm spotted a vine next to his ball. Assuming the vine was dead, and thus a (removable) loose impediment, he grabbed it.

“I got there and I thought it was a loose impediment because it looked dead, so I just moved it to the side. And that’s when [playing partner] Lee [Westwood] came and he realized it was attached.”

At this point, Rahm let the thorny obstruction go and summoned the authorities. The question at issue was whether Rahm improved the lie in the course of his vine-grabbing.

Interestingly, Rahm was provisionally assessed the requisite two-stroke penalty, carding a seven on the hole.

He then met with officials to review the incident after they round, they determined that he hadn’t improved his lie, and thus, shouldn’t be assessed a penalty.

“The discussion was was it an improvement of the lie or not; that’s it. I explained my version of what happened. Unfortunately for me I was the only one who saw it; there were no cameras to back me up. That’s what happened and it was never on my lie, it was never on my line, it was never on my swing path, it was not going to bother my in any way.”

Rahm said he didn’t try to lobby for not having committed the infraction, but rather he simply recounted what happened to the best of his ability and let them make their decision.

“At the end of the day it’s not my call, honestly. I can describe what happened as honestly and truthfully as possible, and as detailed as can happen, and they make the judgment call. it’s up to them.

“They did say it was a very fine line, but the decision is up to them. I would’ve been fine with whatever. They’re the rules officials; they know the rules better than any of us, and it’s their call. I said the same two weeks ago.”

Obviously, two rules situations in three weeks isn’t the best look, but any suggestions the fiery Spaniard is trying to bend the rules are misplaced based on the available evidence.

You can watch Rahm recount the entire incident in more detail to the Golf Channel, below.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Bert

    Jul 23, 2017 at 8:48 am

    “IT LOOKED DEAD, SO I JUST MOVED IT TO THE SIDE” To the side of what? Once moved 2-shots.

  2. Rich Douglas

    Jul 22, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Rahm did the right thing–in calling over the rules official. He did NOT, however, make the right call on the action. It should have been a penalty for improving his lie. But why?

    Rahm says the vine in question was not on his line and not in his way. Okay, but why did he attempt to remove it? It’s presence, obviously, was problematic, even if just visually. That means pulling on it improved his lie, even if just visually. He should have checked it carefully instead of assuming it was dead AND detached. (Being dead wouldn’t be enough.)

    But because he brought in the rules officials and, after the round, they interviewed him further and decided in his favor, it’s much ado about nothing. The number of “Shanks” this article is being given is disappointing.

  3. Nagah

    Jul 22, 2017 at 9:29 am

    It took seven seconds to move the vine !

  4. Adam

    Jul 22, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Major issue with golf’s honor code system. Unless you’re a silver spoon/country club kid, you are breaking the rules. You’re sneaking onto courses, practicing where you’re not supposed to, whatever it takes.

    You’re used to hearing, “you aren’t allowed to do that.” You’ve been threatened with arrest for traspassing, been verbally abused, you name it.

    And yet, if you don’t break the rules, or the law, you’re unlikely ever to be great unless you’re rich. The whole “honor” thing doesn’t work if you’re broke.

  5. Adam

    Jul 22, 2017 at 2:00 am

    First, a major college coach told me last week that there’s cheating in college golf but that they drill into their players, “don’t be that guy.”

    The message is that if you have to cheat, you’re just not that good.

    As to Rahm, only he knows for sure. If he broke the rules, he should call a penalty on himself.

  6. JThunder

    Jul 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Also, why is “Shank” the lowest rating? Many of these “stories” deserve a “whiff” – at least with a shank, you make some kind of contact, albeit horrible, embarrassing and debilitating… A swing and a miss is still worse.

  7. JThunder

    Jul 21, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    “Obviously, two rules situations in three weeks isn’t the best look, but any suggestions the fiery Spaniard is trying to bend the rules are misplaced based on the available evidence.”

    And yet, this article exists, the title of which is typical sensationalist media – aka click-bait.

    “Non-incident”?

    Golf would be best served to allow the rules officials to do their jobs the best they can, and forget about the TV-watcher and forum-troll wanna-bes.

    *This* is the kind of nit-picky garbage that can drive people away from the game. What kind wants to take up a game where moving a twig gives you a two-stroke penalty? The baby-boomers raised their kids to be *WAY* more entitled than that…

  8. Dave R

    Jul 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    It was growing much like his nose. Two strokes that’s it.

  9. Matt

    Jul 20, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I find the article confusing. They don’t make it clear who brought up the infraction. Was it Rahm or Westwood. They allude to both. If its Rahm – totally cool. Two rules infractions in a couple weeks aren’t a big deal. Coincidence, if anything Rahm is a stickler on himself. If Westwood had to raise this, it changes the story completely. How bad was the infraction that Westwood noticed him removing a fixed impediment. Must’ve been at least mildly obvious.

    • Rwj

      Jul 21, 2017 at 3:54 am

      Lee Westwood brought to Rahm’s attention the vine was attached which would be a rules infraction. Interesting that his view is that it was in no way on line, path, etc…then why did you even touch it? Coincidence this type of thing happens to Rahm again, although I believe he should have been penalized at the Irish Open, he seems shady to say the least never calling the penalty on himself. This doesn’t seem to back what used to be the gentleman’s game. Maybe the college coaches should teach these guys the rules while they are in college playing. What are the coaches doing with them during their time on the team?

  10. Woodster

    Jul 20, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    “it was never on my lie, it was never on my line, it was never on my swing path, it was not going to bother my in any way”
    So if that is the case, why move it all? The fact that Lee Westwood had to be the one to raise the issue is even more incriminating.

    • Matt

      Jul 20, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Did Westwood or Rahm raise it? The article says Rahm called an official.

  11. Dat

    Jul 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Cheating is cheating.

    • 2putttom

      Jul 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      “Rahm said he didn’t try to lobby for not having committed the infraction, but rather he simply recounted what happened to the best of his ability and let them make their decision” ….

  12. J Witness

    Jul 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Apparently the rules of golf don’t apply to Spanish players…
    *See Sergio at the Masters

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Tour News

It’s the Ardmore! Woods begins Quicken Loans National with TaylorMade putter in the bag

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If you had a bet going with your buddies that there was no way Tiger Woods would depart from his beloved 13 major-winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS this week, you lose.

Woods started the first round of the Quicken Loans National with the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he has been practicing all week with at TPC Potomac.

Adam Schupak spotted Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on the way to the first tee for Woods’ 1:20 ET start time with the camo TaylorMade putter cover in the bag (not surprisingly, the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 was beneath the cover).

Woods has struggled with the putter this season, as we’re all well aware, particularly since the Memorial. No. 89 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, the 14-time major champion knew he had to do something.

“I’m trying to find something that I can feel again, like the swing of the putter, getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again,” Woods said. “You know, it’s just one of those things, once I start to get the ball rolling on my lines, then I’ll be back to putting like I was. I just have not been rolling it on my lines. And then on top of that, when they don’t roll on lines, then I have a hard time seeing my lines and it’s a vicious cycle. And I’m just trying to get out of that cycle.”

Woods reportedly tried a number of TaylorMade putters in the Bahamas last week, arriving (as far as we know) at the Quicken Loans National with just the Ardmore and his Newport to choose between.

He has made his choice for the first round. We’ll see how it pans out and whether Woods remains a mallet man all week.

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5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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