Hideki Matsuyama shot 6-under 66 Friday in Round 2 of the Hero World Challenge, a result which will stand despite a controversial finish at the 18th green.
Essentially, Matsuyama left a green-side chip short and the ball began rolling back toward him and the original divot. As the ball was rolling back, video clearly shows Matsuyama looking down at the ground and stepping on the divot with his left foot.
The ball ultimately stopped short of where Matsuyama placed his foot, but he could have been assessed a penalty for intentionally attempting to improve his lie.
Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis said PGA Tour Vice President of Rules and Competition Mark Russell spoke with Matsuyama after the round in an attempt to determine if there was intent.
“Matsuyama said he did not with intent try to improve the lie. He didn’t even know he tapped the ground, he said he was totally unconscious of that,” said Lewis, relaying the details of that conversation.
Said Golf Channel’s Curt Byrum: “It all comes down to what the player tells the official, whether he intended to improve the lie or not. They ask it a certain way, so it is what it is. Not intent, just a reaction apparently by Matsuyama.”