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Collin Morikawa has criticised the “grey areas” in golf’s rule book after receiving a two-shot penalty at the Hero World Challenge after an intervention from Matt Fitzpatrick.
Morikawa was docked two strokes before starting his fourth and final round in the Bahamas after his caddie, Jonathan Jakovac, used notes written in a greens book to aid the American as he lined up a putt.
Jakovac had used a spirit level to assess the undulations on the fourth green — while this is legal, writing down the results and using them to assist a player is not.
Fitzpatrick, Morikawa’s Saturday playing partner, overheard the discussion and queried Jakovac’s actions with Stephen Cox, the PGA Tour’s head referee.
And Cox levied a two-shot penalty against Morikawa before the 26-year-old teed off on Sunday.
Morikawa finished seventh at 12-under at the Albany Golf Club, eight shots back from winner Scottie Scheffler, and was frustrated both at a perceived ambiguity to golf’s rule book and Cox’s tardiness in informing him of the penalty.
Collin Morikawa was penalised at the Hero World Challenge
“We made the mistake,” the Californian said. “From our understanding it was fine to use a level on the practice green and see how putts break and write that down. Obviously it’s not.
“Stephen said apparently to JJ [Jonathan Jakovac] this morning that it was a grey area in all this. Why are there grey areas? There shouldn’t be grey areas in the rules, right? That’s what rules are for.
“I was a little mad at Stephen. He told us to meet him in the locker room. I was waiting in there for around five minutes and he didn’t show up and this was midway through my warm-up. If you are going to tell me some news, I think you should show up on time.”
Fitzpatrick ended the Tiger Woods-hosted event in a tie for fourth at 15-under.
He explained that his intervention had been prompted by a conversation with his putting coach earlier this year around the details of the rule Morikawa breached.
“I was on the green, I heard Collin ask the question and JJ gave him an answer from his yardage book,” Fitzpatrick outlined.
Matt Fitzpatrick said that his intervention was ‘nothing personal’
“I have wanted to use AimPoint earlier this year. I spoke to my putting coach, Phil Kenyon, about it. He told me that he was pretty certain I can’t write the numbers down or use the AimPoint numbers. So, you know, I didn’t do it.
“JJ, before we went out, explained why he did what he did or whatever. He said he had done his homework and he had gone out there and rolled the balls as what we were told you were allowed to do. I was like: ‘listen, that’s not the advice I was given’; I’m pretty sure he was given different advice.
“And then obviously yesterday it happened and I asked Coxy just to clarify what the situation was. I asked the question and he was like: ‘well, now you’ve asked the question, I need you to tell me what’s going on’. That was it.
“Listen, it’s nothing personal. Whether it was Tiger [Woods] or whoever, it’s just I wanted to know because I would have used it earlier this year.”