Rory McIlroy involved in similar embedded ball situation to Patrick Reed in Farmers Insurance Open third round

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Steve DiMeglio
·2 min read
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SAN DIEGO – Turns out there was another embedded ball incident during Saturday’s third round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The golf world knows of the first one – when Patrick Reed was cleared of any rules violation when he took relief for an embedded ball on the 10th hole.

Replays of the incident caused a firestorm on social media, with some saying Reed took liberty with the rules, while others were much harsher. Especially seeing as Reed was involved in a rules fiasco in the 2019 Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He took two practice swings that scraped the sand and improved his lie on both occasions on the 11th hole. Cameras caught the infraction. After the round, Reed pleaded his case, bringing up the angle of the cameras, but was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

Well, a few hours after Reed’s episode in the third round at Torrey Pines, Rory McIlroy was involved in a similar incident.

On the par-5 18th, McIlroy’s second shot wound up in the rough right of the fairway. McIlroy said after the round he asked a marshal if the ball bounced and was told they had not seen it bounce. McIlroy alerted his playing partner Rory Sabbatini that he was going to check if the ball was embedded. He determined it was, took free relief, and wound up making a par.

On Sunday morning, the PGA Tour released a statement concerning McIlroy’s drop.

“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,” the statement read. “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 a 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.”

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