Jon Rahm cards 66 despite Rules gaffe at BMW Championship
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Forgot to mark ball before picking it up, incurring one-shot penalty
Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR
Jon Rahm discusses unusual penalty after Round 3 at BMW Championship
Jon Rahm shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to get into contention at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the one hole he bogeyed.
He forgot to mark his ball before picking it up at the par-4 fifth hole. Penalty: one stroke.
“I just hope I don't lose by one,” Rahm said. “I'm just going to say that. I just hope. And if I do, well, very well my fault. It's as simple as that.”
How exactly did he forget to mark his ball before picking it up? Well, even Rahm isn’t entirely sure. He had hit his approach to just inside 44 feet when, as he describes it, his mind simply went on walkabout.
“I was holding my marker in my pocket,” he said of the Arizona State poker chip he uses from far away. “Just went at it, and for some reason I just picked up the ball thinking I marked it already. I was thinking of somebody else and something else or somebody – and yeah, I just picked up the ball without marking it, simple as that.”
He froze upon realizing his mistake, and fessed up to his violation.
“Once I replaced it,” he said, “took the penalty and moved on.”
It was Rahm’s only bogey of the day on a course that has confounded the best players in the world, and he was especially proud to have shot 66 after such a lapse.
“I'm proud of being able to maintain my composure afterwards,” he said. “I think the most important shot of the round was that second putt, the six-footer for bogey. Technically, it helped out a lot. I was able to tell myself I was 1 under par through five holes. It's not easy; the first few holes aren't playing that easy today. Just more so proud that I was able to pull it off afterwards.
“I really can't give you an explanation,” he added. “It's one of those things that happen in golf. Never thought it would happen in my professional career, but here we are.”
Cameron Morfit began covering the PGA TOUR with Sports Illustrated in 1997, and after a long stretch at Golf Magazine and golf.com joined PGATOUR.COM as a Staff Writer in 2016. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter.