Rahm explains Open rules controversy


Jon Rahm said he was ready to accept a two-stroke penalty as he explained the rules controversy at The Open on Thursday.

The Spaniard was initially given a penalty for moving a plant at the 17th hole in his opening round at Royal Birkdale.

However, officials accepted his explanation that his lie had not been improved, and Rahm finished with a one-under 69 to be tied for 26th.

The 22-year-old, also involved in a rules controversy during his win at the Irish Open earlier this month, said the decision was out of his hands.

"At the end of the day it's not my call, honestly," Rahm said.

"I can describe what happened as honestly and truthfully as possible, as detailed as can happen. And they make 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 [decided]. They know the rules better than any of us and it's their call.

"I said the same two weeks ago. It was their call to give me a penalty stroke or not. It's not up to me, obviously."

Rahm said he thought the plant was loose before Englishman Lee Westwood, part of the group along with Patrick Reed, realised otherwise.

"So basically, I just don't know how to call the plants, the one with thorns in it about three feet long," Rahm said.

"It was an inch and a half over, just right on my ball, you know, standing back. So basically when I got there it was not on my line. It would not have affected my swing, unless I hit a 50-yard slice, which was not the case for any player in the world in that situation.

"I got there, I thought it was a loose impediment because it looked dead, and I just moved it to the side. That's when Lee came, he realised it was attached. It was not loose. It was still there.

"And we asked the rules official, he said obviously had I improved my lie - improving my lie, moving an impediment not loose is 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. Unfortunately for me I was the only one who saw it. There were no cameras to back me up. That's what happened. And it was never on my lie. It was never in my line, never on my swing path. It was not going to bother me anyway.

"So basically after that they made the decision that there was no stroke penalty. Like I said, I just moved it. It was like a reflection. It was automatic. I thought it was dead, so I just moved it to the side."

American trio Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar lead The Open at five under.