Jon Rahm’s two-shot penalty at the 16th hole of the Memorial Tournament on Sunday had no impact on the final placings but the Spaniard says it took the shine off one of the greatest shots of his career.
Rahm’s final round three-over-par 75 was enough for a three-shot victory at Muirfield Village Golf Club ahead of Ryan Palmer in second, and also saw the Spaniard replace Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.
The highlight of the round was a brilliant chip-in from 30-feet at the 16th, which restored a four-shot cushion over Palmer with two to play, but Rahm was later handed the penalty as video replays showed his ball had moved while addressing the shot.
“All I can say is as minimal as it was, it moved; I accept it. It doesn’t change the outcome of the tournament,” said Rahm.
“It just puts a little bit of an asterisk in it in the sense of I wish I could just keep that birdie because it was one of the greatest shots of my life.
“Had I seen it, I would have said something or maybe questioned not questioned, asked for a rules official and explained what happened and would have gone from there. But the rules of golf are clear, and the ball did move. I accept the penalty. That goes to show that you have to fight until the end.”
Tiger Woods’s opening birdie bomb was followed by a long slog to a four-over par 76 as the 15-time major champion wrapped up a tough week in his first tournament in five months at the Memorial.
Woods, a five-time winner of the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event made the cut on the number to keep his perfect streak of cuts made in the tournament in his 18th appearance.
The 44-year-old reigning Masters champion was encouraged by a third-round 71, but could make nothing happen in a final round that included a double-bogey at the par-five seventh and five more bogeys — including a five-foot par miss at the 18th.
His six-over total left him 18 off Rahm’s lead when Woods walked off the course.
Birdies at 16 and 17 — with putts of 18 and 22 feet — were little consolation, but Woods insisted the week offered reasons for optimism.
“I got four rounds in,” he said. ‘I was fortunate to make the weekend and made some progress ball striking-wise,” Woods said.
“I’ve got to clean up on the greens. I didn’t putt well all week. But as far as my swing, it felt good. I was able to hit good shots.
“Friday was a bit off physically, but overall for my first week back, it was a lot, a lot of positives.
“I haven’t played in a while. It was nice to get my feet wet.”