For those that missed it, and you’re excused if you didn’t manage to stay up post-midnight to witness the mayhem, but Jon Rahm’s chip on 16 has had the golf world talking since the close of the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
The fiery Spaniard kept his cool during a brutal final round test at Muirfield Village to slay the field by three-strokes at Jack’s place, but only after incurring a two-shot penalty for what – at the time – looked for all the world to be one of the greatest shots of Rahm’s young career.
With the rain coming down heavy and a penny’s worth of green to play with, Rahm slid his wedge under a precariously placed ball as he attempted a two-in-10 up-and-down, only to send the four people in attendance into raptures after holing the most delicious chip you’ll see.
UNBELIEVABLE!@JonRahmPGA holes out for birdie on 16.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 19, 2020
Too good to be true? In hindsight, maybe, after Rahm was deemed on close inspection to have caused his ball to move before taking address.
Did Jon Rahm’s ball move prior to his chip in??
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) July 19, 2020
Luckily for Rahm, he was fully informed of the incident by chief referee ‘Slugger’ White, prior to signing his card in the scorer’s hut, meaning he took a two shot penalty on the chin and still won by three before any further damage could be done.
But that hasn’t stopped the armchair pundits from circling, scooching their chairs around the world number one and wondering why Rahm hadn’t noticed the ball oscillating and called the penalty on himself. For Rahm’s part:
“Well, when Amanda said I had to talk to Slugger I was a little confused,” he said. “I’m like, ‘what do I need a rules official for right now?’ And when they said something about the ball, still confused. I didn’t see that ball move at all. I just never saw it.
“So, had I seen it, I would have said something or maybe questioned — not questioned, asked for a rules official and explained what happened and would have gone from there. But I mean, he had to zoom it in the iPad so much to see what was a very minimal oscillation that could have basically just been me putting the club down and all the grass just simply going down.
“It barely moves at all. Everything goes down with it. But the rules of golf are clear, and the ball did move. Unfortunately it’s going to have bittersweet feeling to what was possibly one of the greatest shots of my career, the shot that this Sunday gave me the victory, but that goes to show, you know, I accept the penalty. That goes to show that you have to fight until the end.
“I could have very easily maybe just given up on the up-and-down on 17 and 18 and finished with two bogeys, and possibly after the penalty strokes given myself a scare and possibly gone to a playoff and still fought hard. Every shot counts, and I tried every shot and got those two last up-and-downs, as a true Spaniard would, and it is what it is.
“Then I talked to slugger. I wasn’t really happy about it at first just because it doesn’t change the outcome of the tournament. And how many times does it happen in other sports where those questionable calls of balls being in bounds, not in bounds, those touchdowns being touchdowns, not touchdowns? Every other sports it’s a margin of error, and once the referee makes the decision they move on.
“If it doesn’t change the outcome of the tournament, does it really matter? Maybe. Again, I accept what it is; it did move. It doesn’t take anything from the day, though. It’s still probably one of the greatest days of my life.”
There’s no taking away from the fact that Jon Rahm was a worthy champion and will prove a tough nut to crack atop the world golf rankings.
Still, what did you make of the incident?