Matt Kuchar found himself on the losing end of trying to convince multiple PGA Tour rules officials his drive on the 17th hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club landed in its own pitch mark rather than that of another drive.
Playing the next-to-last hole in the opening round of the 2019 Memorial Tournament, Kuchar came upon his drive on the par 4 finding his ball embedded in the fairway in what appeared to be a previous pitch mark. If the pitch mark were deemed to be caused by someone else's play, then Kuchar would not be entitled to relief and would have to play the ball as it was.
Discussing the lie with official Robbie Ware, Kuchar agreed the pitch mark wasn't his. However, Kuchar made his case that his tee shot had "broken new ground" in the original pitch mark to create the outlines of a second pitch mark, into which his ball landed.
Matt Kuchar receives a ruling after his ball lands in a pitch mark. pic.twitter.com/o2TBZ0sl7s
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 30, 2019
UPDATE: After posting the video of the incident on Twitter, the PGA Tour deleted it hours later, effectively removing it from the internet.
“The rule says it’s got to be your pitch mark,” Ware said. “If the ball rolled, there’s no way it’s gonna create a second pitch mark.”
Kuchar protested, saying, “What if it rolls and it kind of hops up and hops down?”
Ware was not convinced: “Even if it hopped up just an inch or two it’s not gonna create [its own mark]."
At that point, Kuchar called in a TV cameraman to show a replay of the shot to Ware. The ball strikes the fairway, hops up and lands in another pitch mark that wasn't created by Kuchar's drive. Kuchar tried to convince Ware, who dismissed the claim.
“Oh yeah, you see that, Robbie?” Kuchar said to Ware after viewing the replay. “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, and rules official Stephen Cox was quicker to dismiss the claim.
“Ultimately it’s already in a hole made by somebody else,” Cox said. “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.”
Kuchar wanted Cox to look at the film, hoping he could convince Cox where he couldn't convince Ware.
“I don’t need to look at it, Matt,” Cox continued. “The guys have already seen it on TV. Let’s get back into play.”
A total of 10 minutes later, and Phil Mickelson putting out at the green, playing moved on from there. After the round, Kuchar said the rule was "confusing" and tried to further justify his point of view which had no basis in the Rules of Golf or the footage.
“The only reason I did it is just from seeing the video,” Kuchar said. “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.”
Kuchar shot 1-over 73.