Skip to content

Collin Morikawa gets penalty after Matt Fitzpatrick calls out rules breach to PGA Tour official

Collin Morikawa was given a two-shot penalty for breaching a Model Local Rule that limits the use of green-reading materials; PGA Tour officials only became aware of the incident after it was flagged by playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick during the Hero World Challenge

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Collin Morikawa expressed his view on the PGA Tour rules after being called out by Matt Fitzpatrick and given a two-shot penalty at the Hero World Challenge

Collin Morikawa was left frustrated by the handling of a rules infringement flagged to PGA Tour officials by Matt Fitzpatrick, resulting in a two-shot penalty during the Hero World Challenge.

Morikawa was assessed a two-stroke penalty for violating Model Local Rule G-11, which restricts the use of green-reading materials, ahead of his final round in the Bahamas.

The incident had occurred when assessing a putt on the fourth hole the previous day, following Morikawa's caddie JJ Jakovac using a level on the practice putting green and adding handwritten notes in his yardage book.

Image: Morikawa ended the week in seventh spot, eight strokes behind Scottie Scheffler

A breach only came to light when Fitzpatrick sought clarification over the rule from PGA Tour chief Stephen Cox later that evening, with Morikawa then issued the penalty shortly before his tee time on the final day.

"It comes down to use of this handwritten note," Cox explained. "Because he used it for assessing the putt during his third round then he was assessed a two-stroke penalty. Fortunately, that is the only time the player or caddie has accessed that information … and on that basis, the breach remained at two strokes."

Morikawa would be allowed to use the information gathered from the practice green had it been from memory, although Cox added that the violation occurred because the formula was written into the yardage book and used.

"We've been very specific for those players that do use formulas, it's fine, you do need to retain that as your memory for then to take onto the course," Cox added. "[Morikawa] was very frustrated. This is a very complicated rule."

Also See:

Morikawa confused by 'grey areas' in rules

Morikawa's third-round score was adjusted from 68 to 70 and moved him from 10 under to eight under, leaving him eight shots behind 54-hole leader and eventual winner Scottie Scheffler going into the final day.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from day four of the Hero World Challenge as Scottie Scheffler triumphed and Tiger Woods finished 18th

"We made the mistake," Morikawa 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 [Cox] said apparently to JJ [Jakovac, caddie] 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."

Collin Morikawa, of the United States, watches his shot from the first tee during the final round of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, in New Providence, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Image: Morikawa carded a four-under 68 on the final day in the Bahamas

Fitzpatrick: Nothing personal with Morikawa

Fitzpatrick did not speak to Morikawa about in the incident, with the former US Open champion insisting he was seeking clarification on the regulations rather than to report a player for a potential breach.

"I was on the green [on Saturday], I heard Collin [Morikawa] ask the question and JJ [Jakovac] gave him an answer from his yardage book," Fitzpatrick said after his final round, where a two-under 70 saw him finish tied-fourth.

England's Matt Fitzpatrick chips in the ball into the 9th hole green during the final round of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, in New Providence, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Image: Fitzpatrick played alongside Scheffler on the final day

"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.

Live PGA Tour Golf

"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 or whoever, it's just I wanted to know because I would have used it earlier this year."

The 2024 PGA Tour season begins with The Sentry from January 4-7, held on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii and live on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.

Around Sky