Hideki Matsuyama catches awful break during crucial final hole of Presidents Cup match
Hideki Matsuyama had one hole left and likely needed to make birdie to earn a full point. Instead, he caught a terrible break, and at the worst time, when he hit a marshal with his tee shot.
Matuyama was tied with Sam Burns during singles play on Sunday at the Presidents Cup, and they reached the par-4 18th at Quail Hollow with one final chance to earn a valuable point. It would have been big for the Internationals, too, who were down 13-8 at the time and needed to steal wins wherever they could.
Matsuyama’s drive on the 18th started left and looked like it was working back into the fairway, but it ricocheted hard off the leg of a marshal standing in the rough. It bounced about eight or nine yards straight left and now Matsuyama had to maneuver his way over a tree.
It’s unclear exactly why the marshal was standing in the landing area, but according to the telecast Matsuyama was never told how his ball ended up farther left than he probably expected. He lost distance, too, as his approach was 181 yards to the hole, about 20 yards less than what Burns faced.
Matsuyama hit a good shot to clear the tree and landed on the green, but it rolled off the back and left a lengthy chip for birdie.
From 80 feet away, Matsuyama then got lucky, or unlucky, depending on one’s point of view. The chip picked up steam as it raced toward the hole, and it clanked off the pin and settled a few inches away. Unlucky that it didn’t go in for birdie? Or lucky that his chip, which was coming in hot and likely to roll a good 10 feet past the hole, grabbed a piece of the flagstick and settled in close?
Either way, Matsuyama and Burns tied the hole with pars and tied the match for a half-point each. Would it have mattered if Matsuyama would have been able to play his tee shot from what it might have landed if it didn’t hit the marshal? We will never know.