Collin Morikawa on Masters Cheating Allegations: ‘I Play by the Rules, I Promise’

Collin Morikawa on Masters Cheating Allegations: ‘I Play by the Rules, I Promise’
Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 7, 2023

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 06: Collin Morikawa of the United States plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Collin Morikawa has addressed unfounded cheating allegations on the sixth green during his first-round Masters performance on Thursday both immediately after his round and on Twitter as well.

To set the scene, Morikawa hit his sixth tee shot about 37 feet from the hole. He addressed his birdie putt before stepping back after seeing slight ball movement.

Morikawa then checked with playing partner Matthew Fitzpatrick, put his marker down and then moved the ball back to where it originally rested.

He then put the marker behind the ball again before stepping up for his birdie putt, which was good enough to later finish off an easy par.

There was confusion afterward that Morikawa may have just moved his ball slightly to a different location on the green, to the point where some on Twitter even accused him of cheating.

Morikawa cleared up confusion afterward, noting that the ball had actually moved before he initially attempted to putt.

“Yeah, the ball moved, and then I moved it back,” he said, per NUCLR GOLF. “Pretty standard now. Pretty routine in our rules book thankfully.”

He then added, when he was told about the video going viral: “Good. Bring that PIP up. Blow me up, guys.”

Morikawa took to Twitter for further explanation alongside video of the broadcast:

Collin Morikawa @collin_morikawa

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. https://t.co/HQhIv68vKE

As Nick Piastowski of GOLF Magazine noted, USGA rule 13.1d (2) addresses what happened here and backs Morikawa’s ensuing actions:

“If natural forces cause a player’s ball on the putting green to move, where the player must play from next depends on whether the ball had already been lifted and replaced on its original spot: Ball Already Lifted and Replaced. The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated), even though it was moved by natural forces and not by the player, the opponent or an outside influence. Ball Not Already Lifted and Replaced. The ball must be played from its new spot.”

Morikawa finished the round with a three-under 69, four shots back of leaders Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland. He’s scheduled to tee off with Matthew Fitzpatrick at 9:48 a.m. ET on Friday.

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