Matt Kuchar found himself in a rules dispute at the 2019 Memorial Tournament
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Matt Kuchar found himself in a rules dispute at the 2019 Memorial Tournament

Matt Kuchar certainly didn’t expect to be involved in a ruling argument with an official when he teed off on the 17th hole during the Memorial Tournament, a recent PGA Tour stop at Muirfield village, but when his tee shot seemingly ended up in a pitch mark, it took a TV replay and several officials to sort things out, reports.

When the ball makes an impression on the fairway after landing heavily this is called a pitch mark, and if the ball ends up in a pitch mark that it has created, then the player is entitled to a free drop. In this instance things weren’t so straight forward as Kuchar’s ball ended up on the edge of someone else’s pitch mark. A rules official from the PGA Tour, Robbie Ware agreed with Kuchar that the pitch mark was not his own, but Kuchar opined that his ball had created its own pitch mark inside someone else’s pitch mark.

Ware had been called to the area to see the pitch mark itself, and see what had happened.

“The rule says it’s got to be your pitch mark, If the ball rolled, there’s no way it’s gonna create a second pitch mark,” Ware said.

Kuchar argued against that saying,“What if it rolls and it kind of hops up and hops down?” but Ware was not persuaded. Ware called for a cameraman from Golf Channel to support his argument, the ball definitely hopped a couple of times before it settled “even if it hopped up just an inch or two it’s not gonna create [its own mark].“

Kuchar insisted that the hop of the ball when it bounced for the second time had caused it to create its own pitch mark.

“Oh yeah, you see that, Robbie?” Kuchar implored, “It popped straight up. That has potential to have broken a different ground than what was initially a pitch mark.”

Kuchar asked for a second opinion when Ware didn’t agree with Kuchar’s opinion.

A second rules official, Stephen Cox, joined the discussion to provide another opinion, but he agreed with what ware had said.

“Ultimately it’s already in a hole made by somebody else, I'm not buying that fact on the second bounce we’re now gonna get you out of a pitch mark made by somebody else,” Cox stated.

When asked to take a look at the footage, Cox said that he had already seen it on TV and therefore didn’t need to look at it again. Kuchar then asked if he could have a third opinion. However, Cox told him no. The whole episode had taken at total of ten minutes to resolve. Kuchar went on to par the whole after the incident. He finished the course with a total of 73, a final score of one over par. 

After the day, Kuchar spoke with reporters saying, “The only reason I did it is just from seeing the video, I only asked for a second one because I thought there was potential and thought, you never know, you may get someone else who says there is potential for that to happen and we need to look further into that.”

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