Masters champion Matsuyama suffers first disqualification at Memorial Tournament

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Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament midway through his first round on Thursday after breaching PGA Tour equipment regulations – the first disqualification of his career.

The 2021 Masters champion had just finished the ninth hole of a thus-far disappointing outing in Ohio, and would have made the turn at three-over after making three early bogeys.

But Matsuyama, who won his first PGA Tour title at the 2014 edition of the tournament, was informed on the 10th tee that markings on the face of his three-wood breached equipment regulations.

Images showed what appeared to be white paint on the club face, which he used throughout his short outing on the course, leading chief referee Steve Rintoul to describe the club as "non-conforming".

Rintoul grouped with other officials to deem the three-wood in breach of equipment rule 4.1a, which states "a substance or any treatment can't be applied to the face of a club which could influence the flight of the ball, the spin, the loft or anything on the ball, how the ball performs".

The 30-year-old, who had never previously been disqualified in his nine-year professional career, refused to comment after being barred from completing his round.

Matsuyama tied for 14th in his unsuccessful defence of hi Masters title, having recovered from a neck injury to feature in Augusta, and will look to bounce back at the Canadian Open, which starts next Tuesday.

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