Jon Rahm won the Irish Open in a rout Sunday, posting a final-round 65 to win by six shots.
But his stellar play isn’t the only topic of discussion in the aftermath of his victory.
Rahm stirred up controversy on the sixth green when he marked his ball to the side of his marker and then returned the ball to the front it, a situation reminiscent of what undid Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration earlier this year.
But Rahm was not assessed a penalty, with rules official Andy McFee explaining that there was only a “millimeters” difference between the two spots and that there was no intent to break a rule.
Speaking after the tournament on Golf Central, Brandel Chamblee and Billy Kratzert both disagreed, arguing that Rahm should have been penalized.
“The integrity of the competition was certainly at risk, and the dynamic of the competition completely changed from what it should have been to one person’s interpretation, and in my opinion, a wrong interpretation of it,” Chamblee said. “Andy McFee certainly has a great reputation administering the rules in a fair manner, but I believe he got this one wrong. It wasn’t millimeters. It was inches, probably 2-3 inches this ball was misplaced.
“So, [Rahm] broke the rule. He should have been penalized, which means he wouldn’t have been playing with a five-shot lead. He would have been playing with a three-shot lead. … And all of a sudden, what looks to be something easy and a walk in the park becomes very stressful. The dynamic certainly changed there and I don’t believe it changed for the right reason.”
“Well, I certainly agree,” Kratzert followed. “When you really look at what happened, I think you have to look at the rule, ‘Ball Played from the Wrong [Place] (20-7C),’ and that would incur a two-shot penalty. …
“When are we going to understand that intent and vague don’t mean the same thing? There’s too many vagaries with that word intent in the Rules of Golf. … And what was significant for me was when I heard Andy McFee say we’re talking millimeters, but he said if [Rahm] moved it from 9 to 12 [o’clock], there would be a penalty incurred. Well, as I’m looking at that video, I did see 9 to 12.”