Jon Rahm wins Irish Open amid rules controversy

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Spain’s Jon Rahm romped to a six-stroke victory at the Irish Open at Portstewart yesterday but it wasn’t without controversy.

Jon Rahm seems to have come from nowhere. After turning professional just a year ago, Rahm now has two professional victories and a string of great finishes that has seen him rocket up inside the top-10 of the world golf rankings.

The 22-year-old from Spain notched up his first win on the European Tour overnight with a six-shot win at the Irish Open. But it wasn’t without controversy.

Rahm’s golf ball finished very close to playing partner Daniel Im’s ball on the sixth green and from here things got a little messy.

Rahm marked his ball to the side of the golf ball, and then shifted it by the length of his putter head to ensure his marker was well clear of Im’s ball. But after Im had made his putt, Rahm didn’t exactly replace his ball in the same spot.

After looking at the footage, rules officials chatted to Rahm on the 13th hole and eventually decided there was no violation of the rules.

“I moved my marker so it was not in the way of Daniel’s and put it back, and when I replaced my ball I thought it was in the same exact spot what I had picked it up,” Rahm said.

“I really thought I had put it back on the same spot, and that was it for me. I didn’t doubt myself twice.”

Rahm was probably the beneficiary of the new rules that were brought in after the Lexi Thompson incident earlier in the year which says that in a situation where “player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

In this case, Rahm’s reasonable judgement was accepted and will be one of the favourites to win The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in a few weeks time.

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