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Jon Rahm won the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, vaulting him to the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world.
At the par-3 No. 16, Rahm was assessed a two-stroke penalty after his ball ever-so-slightly moved while he was setting his club.
The penalty didn’t affect Rahm’s win as he had already built a sizable lead, but it did mean a $150,000 difference for one unlucky bettor on DraftKings.
Jon Rahm fought through brutal conditions to hold on to his lead at the Memorial Tournament, pushing him to the top overall spot in the Official World Golf Rankings at just 25 years of age.
After Rahm gave away three strokes with a bogey and double-bogey to start the back nine, the potential was there for a disastrous collapse. But Rahm seemed to push those fears aside with an absolutely brilliant shot on the par-3 No. 16.
After sending his shot off the tee into the rough beyond the green, Rahm scooped up an incredible loft on his second shot, lobbing the ball straight into the air, landing it on the fringe, and rolling it straight into the hole.
The shot brought up immediate comparisons to Tiger Woods’ epic chip-in on the very same hole, which helped him seal his fifth victory at the tournament.
Rahm’s birdie served as an exclamation point on his final round, putting him well ahead of the field and all but assuring him victory. Or so we thought.
As the broadcast would later point out, rules officials were looking into a possible violation after Rahm’s ball appeared to move while he was settling his club. The ball hardly moves — maybe a dimple or two — and does not appear to improve Rahm’s lie in any way, but the rules of golf are not exactly the most lenient out there.
Rahm was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the infraction, but as he was already standing on the 18th tee, he wasn’t informed of the penalty until after his round. Thankfully, Rahm finished out No. 18 with an easy par, making the penalty strokes a non-issue with regard to the tournament’s outcome.
When asked about the potential penalty, Rahm was clearly shocked at the revelation. «I did not see or feel anything,» Rahm said. «If it did, it is what it is. If we deem it’s a penalty stroke, it’s a penalty stroke. But it still doesn’t take anything away from the shot honestly.»
For Rahm, it was easy to keep his cool over the news. While it must have been disappointing to find out that his fantastic birdie had turned to a bogey, his win was secure, as was the $1.6 million that came with the victory. Life was good!
But Rahm’s wasn’t the only one with money on the line with his performance. According to Jason Sobel at the Action Network, one unlucky bettor lost out on $150,000 thanks to the two-stroke penalty that Rahm was assessed.
Before the penalty was accounted for, DraftKings user DraftMasterFlex was leading a Sunday final-round tournament on the daily fantasy site, ready to take home the $200,000 top prize. But when Rahm’s birdie turned into a bogey, the swing in the DraftKings scoring system sent DraftMasterFlex out of the top spot, leaving him with just $50,000 in winnings — still a fine day at the office, but $150,000 short of where he had been.
As Sobel pointed out, other bets, such as head-to-head matchups involving Rahm in the fourth round, also could have been affected by the penalty strokes.
Rahm’s two-stroke penalty didn’t affect his final outcome on Sunday, but for one bettor, those two strokes were worth six figures.
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