DUBLIN, Ohio – In the hectic closing moments of Sunday’s final round at the Memorial Tournament, Hideki Matsuyama stepped to the 72nd tee needing a birdie to force a playoff with Kevin Na, who had finished more than two hours earlier at 13 under.
The 22-year-old pushed his drive to the right on the par-4 closing hole, caught a tree and rolled into the fairway, but that didn’t stop Matsuyama from slamming his driver into the ground, splintering the shaft and rendering the club unplayable.
Matsuyama birdied the last from 5 feet to tie Na, and under Rule 4-3/12 a player is allowed to replace a club that is damaged for a playoff. Unfortunately, Matsuyama didn’t have a Plan B.
“I didn’t have a spare driver in my locker,” Matsuyama said. “I didn’t have time, of course, to go get one.”
On the first extra hole, Matsuyama played 3-wood off the tee but found a fairway bunker and needed to roll in a 10 footer for par for his first PGA Tour victory.
“With a driver it’s a tough enough hole, but without a driver it’s really tough,” he said. “I did OK with the 3-wood.”