This is a fantastic example of sportsmanship.
Rory McIlroy enjoyed a slightly better round on Friday as he shot 69 to leave him seven shots off the lead going into the weekend at the US PGA Championship.
The Holywood native began his tournament with a 70 on Thursday although he did well to recover during that round after suffering three consecutive bogeys in his opening nine holes.
However, he bounced back to score level par before heading into day two.
As he began Friday five shots behind the leader, you would be forgiven for thinking that McIlroy would use everything to his advantage to close that gap.
Rory McIlroy sportsmanship
During the par-3 third hole on Friday, McIlroy hit his tee shot into the right-side rough. An ESPN reporter accidentally stepped on McIlroy’s ball. This could have worked to McIlroy’s advantage. The rules state that you are allowed to place the ball based on an “estimate” of where it landed without dropping a shot.
A rule official instructed an area where McIlroy could place his ball. The Northern Irishman did so but decided that the lie was too good. He believed that the ball would have been in a more difficult position based on his original shot.
Class act: reporter accidentally stepped on @McIlroyRory’s ball in 3rd green search, official Mark Dusbabek allows him to place, Rory isn’t comfortable with the lie because it’s too good. Resets it lower in rough. Makes bogey. @PGAChampionship pic.twitter.com/C8xXOXFSmu
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) August 7, 2020
Rory played his next shot from a more difficult lie which subsequently saw him bogeying the hole.
Despite the dropped shot, fans have praised McIlroy for his honesty.
. @McIlroyRory on the 3rd hole after having to rebuild his lie when his ball was accidentally stepped on. “I’m not comfortable with that lie…it’s too good.” That's what golf is supposed to be about.
— Darryl Hunt (@210Darryl) August 7, 2020
— Ed Evans (@gedwardevans) August 7, 2020
So different watching golfers v most other sports people. They are frequently trying to con officials or being cute. Rory just said he was uncomfortable with how good his lie was after relief from a stepped on ball. Pure class, well done young man. @McIlroyRory #USPGA
— James O'Sullivan (@JSully80) August 7, 2020
Classy from @McIlroyRory on the 3rd, getting relief because someone stepped on his ball. After he placed the ball the first time
“I’m not comfortable with that lie…it’s too good”. #PGAChamp
So much better than trying to get relief because you saw an ant. @b_dechambeau
— Kelvin Gomez 🇲🇾🏴🇪🇺 (@kfgomez8) August 7, 2020
Rory McIlroy will tee off his third round at the US PGA Championship at 7.30pm (Ireland & UK time) and he has been paired with French golfer Victor Perez.
It looks like the 31-year-old will need to shoot a round in the low 60s if he is to be in contention on the final day.
He is currently seven shots behind the leader Haotong Li who is on eight under after shooting a 67 and a 65 in his opening two rounds.