Rory McIlroy cleared of similar rules incident to Patrick Reed during Farmers Insurance Open
Rory McIlroy was involved in similar embedded ball situation to Patrick Reed during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open; PGA Tour confirms both players followed the rules correctly to receive free relief at Torrey Pines
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 01/02/21 6:05am
Rory McIlroy has been cleared of any wrongdoing by PGA Tour officials after being involved in a rules incident similar to the one Patrick Reed experienced at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Reed sent social media into a frenzy on Saturday after taking relief for an embedded ball on the tenth hole of his third round at Torrey Pines, with the former Masters champion believing his ball had not bounced after consulting his playing partners and nearby marshal.
The American had marked his ball and picked it up before rules official Brad Fabel arrived to confirm he was clear for a free drop, with Reed only being shown post-round the TV footage viewers had seen of his ball clearly bouncing before stopping.
The PGA Tour confirmed the ruling was correct after Reed's third-round 70 and said he handled the situation correctly, while Reed brought McIlroy into the conversation by tweeting post-round: "Rory McIlroy did the same thing today on hole 18! And didn't even call a rules official over to deem the ball embedded. End of story!"
McIlroy's second shot at the par-five 18th on Saturday finished right of the fairway into the rough, with the four-time major champion informing playing partner Rory Sabbatini that he had an embedded ball and would be taking relief.
TV replays showed McIlroy's ball bouncing before stopping in the rough, similar to the Reed incident, although the Northern Irishman received free relief without consulting an official - which is within the rules of golf.
In a statement on Sunday, the PGA Tour said: "John Mutch, Ken Tackett and Gary Young have reviewed the Rory McIlroy videos from No 18 yesterday and determined that it was virtually the same situation that Patrick Reed faced on No. 10 during the third round.
"It was reasonable for both players to conclude - based on the fact that they did not see the ball land, but given the lie of the ball in soft course conditions - that they proceed as the Rule allows for an potential embedded ball.
"They marked, lifted and assessed the situation to determine if the ball was embedded. Patrick went one step further and called in a Rules Official to be sure his assessment would not be questioned (although this step is not required).
"Both players took proper relief under the Rule 16/3. The Committee is comfortable with how both players proceeded given the fact that they used the evidence they had at the time."
Speaking after his final round, McIlroy - who hadn't been pre-warned that a statement would be issued - told reporters: "I've never tried to get away with anything out here. In golf you'd rather be on the wrong side of the rules than the right side of them just to - because that's just what our game's about.
"Our game is about integrity and it's about doing the right thing. I always try to do the right thing and hopefully people see that. I feel like I have a reputation of that.
"Yesterday (Saturday) was one of those things that I guess Patrick [Reed] and I both went on the information that we had and made those determinations. I guess people can jump to conclusions, but at the same time we were I guess well within our rights to do what we did."
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