'I Play By The Rules, I Promise' - Morikawa Clears Up Rules Incident

An incident on the sixth hole at The Masters went viral, with the 26-year-old clearing up the situation on Twitter

Collin Morikawa looks on with an orange floral shirt
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The first round of any tournament is often the least dramatic, with players looking to build a solid foundation to attack the rest of the tournament. However, when it comes to a Major championship, anything can happen and, in the case of Collin Morikawa, that appeared to be true, with the American caught up in some early tournament drama.

What drama you may ask? Well, during the first day at The Masters, a video of Morikawa marking and replacing his ball on the 6th hole sent social media wild, with the two-time Major winner eventually clarifying that: "The ball moved, and then I moved it back. Pretty standard now. Pretty routine in our rules book thankfully". Along with the explanation, Morikawa released a tweet shortly after his three-under-par round of 69. 

In the tweet, which included a full video of the incident, the American wrote: "Here’s the full video…Ball moved as I addressed it, so I threw the coin down in no specific place, replaced the ball to the original spot and then moved my marker to the original spot (from where I threw it). I play by the rules, I promise."

Initially, when Morikawa was still on the course we must add, many were indeed a bit questioning of the situation but, a few hours later, a second piece of footage was released as it showed the full process of the ball rolling backwards as he addressed it. After that, he replaced it back to where it was originally.  

In the media scrum after his first round, Morikawa added: "Look, if I showed up to this course and it was firm and fast, I probably would never put my putter down because you never know when that's going to just trickle on. Now it was on a little mound and moved and nothing wrong with that."

Collin Morikawa talks to his caddie during The Masters

Morikawa is looking to secure a third Major title at Augusta National

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For those wondering, if Morikawa was deemed to have not replaced his ball to the exact spot, he would have received a two stroke penalty under Rule 14: Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place.

What's more, Rule 13.1d also states, if a ball moves on the putting green then it "must always be replaced on its original spot, regardless of what caused it to move. The ball must be played from its new spot only if the ball had not been lifted and replaced before it moved."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x