Jon Rahm maintains his innocence after Westwood reported him for cheating

Jon Rahm has been playing some exquisite golf around the world in recent times, but he has hit the headlines twice in the past few weeks for all the wrong reasons.

Earlier this month at the Irish Open, the Spaniard was accused of cheating after he allegedly marked a ball incorrectly.

He was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and the incident did not affect him as he would cruise to a six shot victory; his first European title.

But the 22-year-old again found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons during the first round of The Open at Royal Birkdale.

En route to an opening 1-under par round, the Spaniard caused controversy on the 17th after he moved a branch before playing his shot.

The incident was picked up on by playing partner Lee Westwood, and the Englishman reacted by reporting the world number seven for breaking the rules in an attempt to improve his stance or lie.

However, the Spaniard again was cleared of any wrongdoing, and after posting a four-over par round on Friday he insisted to the media that he was not a cheat.

Rahm said, as per the Daily Star: “It didn’t affect me today. I didn’t play bad because of yesterday, I played bad like everybody else because of the wind.

“I’m an honest player. We all respect the things that golf teaches you and we all love golf so none of us here try to cheat to save strokes.

“At least, it’s not me. It’s not the way I was raised, it’s not the way Spanish players play because we are similar.

Rahm also commented that there was no tension between himself and Westwood after the pair resolved their differences in opinion prior to the second round.

The Irish Open winner added:  “We moved on. I told Lee yesterday ‘Hey, you did what you had to do. Obviously there’s no hard feelings. I’m not going to be mad at you’.

“He was actually trying to help me out, honestly. He was trying to avoid me getting in trouble if someone saw it on TV.

“I think he did it with the best intentions possible. We didn’t talk about it today at all, it didn’t come up.”

Although Rahm claimed the incident had no impact on his Friday round, he still carded a four-over par round to fall back into a T35.

But the Spaniard was not the only player to struggle; only seven players who made the cut carded under par rounds, as high winds and heavy rain caused havoc in the second round.

Westwood also struggled, and despite recording a two on the par-four 5th, the Englishman tumbled to a four-over par round to make the cut on the number.

One player who navigated the conditions superbly was Jordan Spieth, who recorded a one-under par round and is now six-under par for the tournament.

The two-time major winner has a two shot lead over fellow American Matt Kuchar going into the weekend, with reigning US Open winner Brooks Koepka in a tie for third alongside Englishman Ian Poulter.

Poulter carded an even-par round of 70 to add to his 67 on Thursday, and he goes into the weekend with a great chance of becoming the first Englishman to win the Open since Nick Faldo 25 years ago.

Also vaulting himself into contention going into the weekend was Rory McIlroy, who is now only five shots back after carding a two-under par round on Friday.

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