Jon Rahm won the Irish Open with a record-breaking score on Sunday, but it was yet another rules controversy that dominated the post-victory discussion.
Rahm, who won by six, was told on the 13th tee of a possible penalty he might have committed on the 6th green. Replays show Rahm marking his ball to the side on a short putt, but when he returned the ball he placed it in front of the mark.
After the discussion with Andy McFee, the European tour’s chief referee, on the 13th, Rahm wasn’t assessed the potential two-stroke penalty. McFee said there was only a “millimeters” difference between where the ball was initially marked and where it ended up, and that Rahm made a “reasonable judgment.”
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee thought differently, first on Twitter and then on Golf Channel’s broadcast.
“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 two, three inches that this ball was misplaced. So, he 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.
“All of a sudden, what looks to be something easy and a walk in the park becomes very stressful,” he continued. “The dynamic certainly changed there and I don’t believe it changed for the right reason.”
Rahm’s incident was similar to what happened to Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration earlier this year, when she was penalized four strokes for playing her ball from the wrong spot and ended up losing the tournament in a playoff.
You can watch the incident on the 6th green, as well as McFee’s explanation, below.