Jon Rahm escaped unscathed from a second rules situation in the space of three weeks after an incident on the 17th hole at the Open yesterday.
After finding the rough off the tee on the par-5, the 22-year-old Spaniard moved a stem which he thought was a loose impediment, only to discover that it wasn’t.
“I got there and thought it was a loose impediment because it looked dead, and I just moved it to the side,” explained Rahm. “That's when Lee came. He realised it was attached. It was not loose. It was still there.
“We asked the rules official. He asked if I’d improved my lie which would have been a two-stroke penalty. That's what we agreed on. He said we were going to go on. And then we just discussed it. Basically the discussion was, was it an improvement of the lie or not? That's it. I explained my version of what happened.”
The decision-making process was hampered by the fact that there was no TV coverage and that both playing partners – Westwood and Patrick Reed – didn’t see what happened. For the remainder of the round, Rahm played assuming that he was going to be assessed with the penalty.
“He said right now it's a two-stroke penalty but they were going to review the footage which, unfortunately, there wasn’t. Patrick didn't see anything. Apparently nobody saw anything but me, because I was blocking Lee. Lee explained his facts, I explained what happened from my point of view and they made the call.
“I described what happened as honestly and truthfully as possible, as detailed as can happen. And they made the judgment call. It's up to them. They did say it's a very fine line, I would have been fine with whatever the rules official said.”
In avoiding the two-stroke penalty, Rahm finished his round on one-under-par, four shots behind first round leaders Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar.