Jon Rahm had a contentious discussion with a rules official on Saturday afternoon off of the 8th fairway, his 17th hole of the day that resulted in a penalty under Rule 18-2.
Having missed the fairway on the 610-yard par-5 by only a few yards, Rahm approached the general area where his drive came to rest, he accidentally brushed his ball with his foot. Unhappy that a marshal had not marked his ball with a small flag, as is customary for most Tour events, Rahm called over a rules official and pled his case.
“Nobody was marking where the ball was, so I didn’t know, “Rahm said. “I definitely feel like I touched it with the top of my foot and you can tell I went like that [shows official how he stepped]. I know I touched it, I don’t believe I moved it at all, to be honest. It was right on the top (of my shoe).”
Under Rule 18-2, if a player or his caddie causes the ball to move, he is penalized one stroke. Rahm, seemingly understanding the rule, argued that he didn’t believe he moved the ball, but without certainty, the rules official levied the one-stroke penalty.
Rahm was able to advance the ball up the fairway with his third shot and he got up-and-down to save par, shooting a second-round score of 3-under par 67 to put him at 5-under par for the championship.
“It just would have been hard to accept the fact that I would have had to sign for a 6 without me realistically making a 6,” Rahm told reporters after the round.
When asked if the Rahm “of two years ago” would have been able to regroup and make a par on the hole after an unfortunate break, Rahm explained that he has made strides not only in the past few years, but the past few days.
“I love the fact that you give me a credit of two years because the Jon Rahm of about five days ago probably would have lost his mind,” Rahm said, who went on to say that he has worked hard on his mental game this week. “I didn’t like the fact that I complained as much as I did. I accept and I’ll allow myself to continue to get mad, but complaining the way I did is not really acceptable and seemed a little childish to me.
“It’s just trying to grow up a bit and mature. I’m still 23 years old, so it is what it is.”