Hideki Matsuyama takes *four* drops on single hole at 3M Open, withdraws
The odd summer of Hideki Matsuyama continued Thursday at the 3M Open, in Minneapolis, as the Japanese star made an epic quadruple-bogey 9 and then promptly withdrew following the round.
What a rollercoaster season this has been for Matsuyama, beginning with his Memorial Tournament start in early June. In the first round, Matsuyama made the turn at three over and was approached by a rules official to check his equipment. A white substance had been spotted on the face of his 3-wood, akin to white out, the rules official would later say. The result was blunt: Matsuyama had been disqualified for using a non-conforming club. He accepted the punishment, and moved on.
Two weeks later, he made a run at the U.S. Open.
Matsuyama was chasing when his final round began at The Country Club, teeing off early and trying to set a score the leaders couldn’t beat. After failing to break 70 in any of the first three rounds, Matsuyama played bogey-free and carded a 65, the best round of the week. It certainly gave Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick something to think about as the wind picked up at Brookline. Ultimately, they all squeaked in past him, but Matsuyama finished solo fourth, one of the best results of his season.
It remains unclear of Matsuyama is much of a links golfer — his only top 10 in an Open Championship came nine years ago at Muirfield — and that was proven again this summer as he missed the cut at the Scottish Open, finished T68 at the Old Course and packed his bags for Minnesota.
Matsuyama was one over through eight holes on Thursday when he reached the 18th (his ninth of the day) at TPC Twin Cities, a gettable but occasionally treacherous par-5. We saw Sangmoon Bae dunk multiple balls in the water there in 2020 and still make par. We saw Sung Kang make a 12 made there last summer, and Rickie Fowler card an 8.
Matsuyama got off to a similar start as those aforementioned car crashes, pumping his drive out to the right and into the water hazard. With 240 yards to the hole, into the wind, Matsuyama took a drop and chunked his third, also finding the water. Reload!
If you watch the clip of this debacle below, you’ll notice the third and fifth shots are nearly identical. He lets go of the club with his right hand each time, finishing his swing like a baseball player, only much less sure of how far his long ball would carry. On his fifth swipe, he finally crossed the water, only to crash into the bank and fall back into the drink. Drop No. 3. Anytime your ShotLink results look like someone crocheting a scarf, you’re destined for a big number.
Since his ball crossed the hazard, Matsuyama was at least able to drop his ball further up the hole and hit a short iron into the green. But he airmailed that approach from 160 yards, his ball bouncing into the grandstand. Another drop, but this one came with free relief from the stands.
Playing his eighth, Matsuyama finally found some luck. He hit his wedge a bit too hard, but directly at the flag, crashing into it. Without the backstop, he may have found the hazard once again, which would have forced him into a double-digit score. Instead, he found his ball waiting there next to the flag for a 16-inch tap-in for a not-so-routine 9. You can check out the hazardous footage below.
Rattling (and frequent) as a 9 might be for you and me, Matsuyama did follow up his string of gaffes with a chip-in for birdie on the next hole, a nice reminder that, yes, he is a professional golfer after all, the 14th-ranked player in the world no less.
Matsuyama’s weird summer will continue somewhere else as he finished out the first round to card a 77. He then withdrew from the tournament, citing a “sore wrist,” according to the PGA Tour communications.
That’s a DQ-4th-MC-T68-WD stretch that only one of the best players in the world could pull off.