There are few things that grab the attention at a major championship – or, indeed, any golf tournament more than a rules debate, and we weren’t left wanting in the first round of the Masters.
But it proved to be a nothing-to-see-here situation between Brooks Koepka, his playing partner Gary Woodland, and their caddies Ricky Elliott and Brennan Little.
It appeared that Elliott mouthed the word “five” – meaning 5-iron – to Little after Koepka hit his approach to 15 on the opening day, while social media sleuths also accused the four-time major champion gestured the same thing as he took off his glove.
Augusta National cleared all parties of any wrongdoing, stating that no advice was given or requested.
“I think what they said was they were signalling to somebody else,” Koepka explained. Caddies often inform TV broadcasters of club choice so commentators can fill in the viewers watching at home.
“It wasn’t [Little],” he added, “because they asked us what we hit walking down the fairway, so they had no idea.”
As for the glove controversy, Koepka dismissed it as conspiracy.
“I’m taking my glove off,” he said. “I don’t know if you’re supposed to take your glove off with your fist closed now or what.
“The last thing I’m going to do is give [advice] to Gary Woodland, the US Open champ, and the funny part about it is I think if he would have known we were hitting five, he would have hit six because I don’t think Gary is that short and he’s 10 yards in front of me.”
As well as this incident, Collin Morikawa was also involved in a rules situation on day one that didn’t need official clarification from Augusta.
At first glance, it looked like Morikawa placed his ball a few inches ahead of his marker, and then moved his marker to the back of his ball on the 6th green.
But the two-time major champion offered his own explanation of the first round was finished…
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?