Jon Rahm hit with rare penalty after bizarre rules incident

Jon Rahm came unstuck on the 5th green at the BMW Championship when he incurred a penalty following a strange rules incident

In a week where pars felt like birdies, Jon Rahm really could have done without this careless lapse in concentration at the BMW Championship.

With a lengthy birdie putt on the 5th at Olympia Fields during the second event of the 2020 FedEx Cup Play-offs, Rahm inexplicably picked up his ball before he had marked it.

“I was holding my marker in my pocket, and for some reason I just picked up the ball thinking I marked it already,” he explained. “I was thinking of somebody else and something else or somebody and I just picked up the ball without marking it,” he added. “Simple as that. Once I replaced it, I took the penalty and moved on.

“I don’t know if the camera saw my face or not, but when I was touching it just off the ground, I knew. And I looked at Adam (caddie Adam Hayes) and I just froze. I didn’t know what happened, how it happened, or how to proceed. That’s all I can say.”

Rule 14.1a, under Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball, explains that a player is to “place a ball marker right behind or right next to your ball, or hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to your ball”.

It adds: “If you lift your ball without marking its spot, mark its spot in a wrong way, or make a stroke with a ball marker left in place, you get one penalty stroke.”

The Spaniard putted to six feet before saving his bogey.

“I’m proud of being able to maintain my composure afterwards,” Rahm, who went on to shoot a round-of-the-day 66, added. “The most important shot of the round was that second putt, the six-footer for bogey. Technically it helped out a lot, as I was able to tell myself I was 1-under-par through five holes.

“I really can’t give you an explanation. It’s one of those things that happen in golf. I never thought it would happen in my professional career, but here we are.

“I’ve seen things like that happen many, many times, but we don’t see those on the PGA Tour and usually it’s not followed by a 66 on this golf course.

“I just hope I don’t lose by one. And if I do, it’s very well my fault. It’s as simple as that.”

It’s not the first time Rahm has been caught up in a rules incident this season. He was hit with a controversial two-shot penalty en route to winning the Memorial and becoming World No 1 for the first time.

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