Video of LPGA pro’s unusual ball-marking technique leads rules official to examine

January 20, 2020

A Twitter video that appeared to show LPGA pro Nasa Hataoka mis-marking her ball on the 11th hole of the final round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions was investigated by an LPGA tour rules official, who, according to Golf Channel, deemed that Hataoka did not commit a violation.

The video in question has since been deleted, but it appears that the kerfuffle ensued because of Hataoka’s unusual ball-marking technique, which allegedly involves marking her ball conventionally, with the mark behind the ball, then placing the ball behind the mark while she lines up her putt, then replacing the ball back in front of the marker before she makes her stroke.

Because the since-deleted video only showed a partial clip of her process, it appeared that Hataoka was marking her ball with the mark in front of the ball, and then replacing the ball in front of that mark, which would be closer to the hole than her originally marked spot. That was not the case when the full sequence was reviewed by the official.

Hataoka fired a final-round 68 on Sunday to earn her way into a three-way playoff alongside Gaby Lopez and Inbee Park. The trio was reduced to two on the third playoff hole, when Park was elimnated. Lopez and Hataoka played two more holes before the playoff was called for darkness. On Monday morning, Lopez eventually prevailed after rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the seventh playoff hole to claim her second career LPGA victory.

Hataoka has three career LPGA victories on her resume.

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