DORAL, Fla. – Before his round on Saturday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship Hideki Matsuyama sought out Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner – the three players who were grouped behind the Japanese player on Friday – to apologize for damaging the 13th green with his putter.
“His feeling is if he could apologize to the entire field he would, but those are the three he wanted to handle personally today,” Matsuyama said through an interrupter following his third round.
Poulter caused a pre-round social media stir at Doral when he tweeted late Friday that Matsuyama, “buried his putter in the 13th green 5 feet from the hole. (A) referee had to repair the crater. Because he didn’t.”
“Why should Matsuyama leave a crater in the green for others to putt over, or have to call a referee to repair the damage. Idiot,” Poulter also tweeted.
Poulter was paired with Matsuyama on Saturday and accepted the apology before the two set out at 11:15 a.m. (ET).
“He’s a good guy, he’s a good golfer. He’s a great player. We all make mistakes,” Poulter said. “He said, ‘Sorry.’ He doesn’t have to apologize to me. It has nothing to do with me. It was in Charl’s line, not my line.”
Matsuyama finished with a third-round 71, his best card of the week, and needed treatment on an ailing wrist after the round before he spoke with reporters, but said the incident did not impact his play on Saturday.
“I heard about this morning and felt really bad,” Matsuyama said. “All I can do is apologize. I didn’t realize I had damaged the green that badly. The group behind did, and that’s what counts.”