“Our game is about integrity and it’s about doing the right thing.”
Rory McIlroy has offered a detailed explanation of his embedded ball ruling incident during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
McIlroy suffered further Sunday disappointment after failing to make a charge in last week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as the four-time major winner slipped out of contention as Patrick Reed cruised to a five-stroke victory.
But while McIlroy and others – including Jon Rahm, Adam Scott and Viktor Hovland – failed to catch fire during an anticlimactic final round in California, Saturday’s third round produced no shortage of drama and controversy, most of which centred on Reed benefitting from a controversial drop on the 10th hole.
Reed was awarded a free drop after a rules official determined that his ball had embedded in the rough, although replays confirmed that the American’s ball had bounced before settling, raising questions as to how it could have embedded.
McIlroy takes relief.
McIlroy found himself in a similar situation on Saturday when his approach to the 18th green landed in the rough.
The Northern Irishman determined that his ball had embedded and took relief after consulting the other players in his group.
The PGA Tour said they were happy with how both Reed and McIlroy handled their respective situations.
The full exchange as Patrick Reed takes embedded ball relief on No. 10. pic.twitter.com/gSPH6PrAoW
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2021
Speaking after Sunday’s final round, McIlroy explained the situation in detail.
“I came in here yesterday after hearing about what Patrick had been through on the 10th hole, sort of giving him the benefit of the doubt because I just went through a similar thing on 18 yesterday,” said McIlroy, who finished in a tie for 16th, eight shots adrift of Reed.
“If a ball bounces up and comes to rest in a pitch mark or in a lie that’s not the pitch mark that it made, then, of course, it’s very hard for it to be embedded, but I feel the way my ball was definitely in its own pitch mark, it had to be, and that was why I was so confident to take relief.
Rory McIlroy takes embedded ball relief on No. 18 during Round 3. pic.twitter.com/9D4HH4Gv5g
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 31, 2021
‘I’ve never tried to get away with anything out here’ – McIlroy
“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.”