DORAL, Fla. — Ian Poulter criticized Hideki Matsuyama on Twitter and referred to him as an "idiot" for damaging the 13th green at Doral with his putter and not repairing it. Matsuyama apologized to him Saturday morning before they teed off together in the Cadillac Championship.
Matsuyama missed a 7-foot par putt in the second round Friday and slammed his putter into the green, leaving what one caddie described as a half-inch gash.
Poulter was in the group behind the 22-year-old from Japan. The damage was in the line of Charl Schwartzel’s 12-foot par putt, and a rules official was called out to repair the damage before Schwartzel putted. He missed and made bogey.
The incident escaped noticed until Poulter, with over 1.6 million followers, took to Twitter late Friday. He ripped Matsuyama and former golf pro Dale Concannon, who challenged him on the social media site:
Why should Matsuyama leave a crater in the green for others to putt over, or have to call a referee to repair the damage. Idiot.
Matsuyama, the No. 22 player in the world who last year became the first rookie to win the Japan Golf Tour money list, was already on the practice range when Poulter arrived. He immediately walked to the other end of the range with his interpreter, Bob Turner, and apologized.
Poulter shook his hand and said, "I make loads of mistakes."
"If you’re going to do it, repair it," he explained to Matsuyama, who nodded his head.
Poulter ended the brief exchange by saying, "No words today," indicating that there was no need to bring it up again during their third round.
Turner said Matsuyama already apologized to Jason Dufner, who was in the group with Poulter, and would seek out Schwartzel.
"He wishes he could apologize to the field," Turner said. "All he can do is promise not to do it again. No excuses."