Irish Open: I thought I put the ball back in the same place, says Rahm as he addresses ball marker controversy
Irish Open champion Jon Rahm has tackled the issue of the ball marker controversy during his final round.
He began his press conference by directly addressing what would have been an inevitable question. Complaints had been made but Rahm was not punished after seeming to replace the ball to a slightly different position before tapping into the hole.
He said: "What happened at number six, I'm going to tell you guys all I know. Daniel (Im) putted it to about a foot and a half. I hit my put and ended up on the same side of the hole. To make it faster because it was raining, I put it on the side of my ball knowingly. I know it's a little suspicious sometimes but I knowingly did it. Then I moved my marker and when I replaced my ball, I thought it was in the same exact spot. That was it for me, I didn't doubt myself.
"Then they told me they had some complaints. He said he didn't think I had put it in the same spot but he didn't think it was enough of a difference to make anything of it.
"I told him if they think it is a penalty, to tell me and I would accept it. I haven't seen the footage yet so I don't know but to my eyes, I put it in the same spot."
Parallels were drawn on social media between Rahm's situation and that of Lexi Thompson, who suffered a four-shot penalty during the women's ANA Inspiration, a major tournament.
That eventually led to a rule changed that allowed for leeway "when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the ‘naked eye'" or "when players use their ‘reasonable judgment’ to determine a specific location when applying the Rules".
Rahm concluded: "We're talking about putts that are a foot from the hole. It just seems so silly. It's a putt that's going to go in 99 times out of 100. It's not as if it's a putt from six feet to win the tournament. What happened with Lexi, it's clearly not intentional.
"She's leading the tournament, I think she's doing right. I know the rules changed and I do believe the rules of golf should leave a little to interpretation. Every situation is different. In my case, I was aware of what I did and I thought I put it back in the same place."
Belfast Telegraph Digital