[PHOTO: Harry How]

On two separate occasions this PGA Tour season, internet rules sleuths have attempted to spoil a player’s victory by breaking out the ol’ magnifying glass. Each time, nothing came of it.

The first instance occurred at the Farmers Insurance Open, where France’s Matthieu Pavon was accused, on Golf Twitter of course, of stamping down the grass around his ball on the par-5 18th hole at Torrey Pines (Pavon pulled off a miracle shot and won with a birdie). The second came at Pebble Beach, where some questioned Wyndham Clark getting relief from a burrowing animal hole (Clark won after the event was shortened to 54 holes).

Hideki Matsuyama becomes Asia’s most prolific PGA Tour winner with final-round 62 (he made some other history, too)

Both cases turned out to be “nothing to see here” situations. But that doesn’t stop viewers from trying to catch players red-handed, like some attempted to do with Hideki Matsuyama late on his back nine today at the Genesis Invitational.

After beginning the day six shots behind Patrick Cantlay, Matsuyama vaulted up the leaderboard with eight birdies in his first 16 holes, briefly sharing the lead with Will Zalatoris before grabbing a hold of it and never letting go with another birdie at the 17th. That birdie was seemingly at risk of becoming a bogey, however, thanks to a close-up video of Matsuyama addressing his third shot in the rough on the par 5.

The clubs Hideki Matsuyama used to win the 2024 Genesis Invitational

A number of rogue videos of the supposed incident have already been removed from social media. But they had been spreading like wildfire, as all potential rules controversies do. The CBS crew must have known this was the case, because Jim Nantz quickly brought in rules and review analyst Mark Dusbabek to explain that there was no foul play from Matsuyama.

Here was the incredible exchange between Nantz and Dusbabek:

Nantz: They’re playing a game of ‘gotcha’, they think, with Matsuyama behind the 17th a moment ago and saying, ‘Hey, that ball moved! This isn’t right!’ Let’s bring in, with some reasoning here, Duse (Dusbabek).

Dusbabek: Yes Jim, the ball did not move. The ball just shifted a little bit, but it stayed in its same position. The ball has to move to a different position, up, down, to the side – it doesn’t matter. It just didn’t move its position.

Nantz: Go find somebody else to pick on.