The PGA Tour says that neither Rory McIlroy nor Patrick Reed were at fault following a rules controversy over the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Reed won the tournament by five shots while McIlroy finished tied for 16th.
During Saturday's third round, Reed took relief on the tenth due to an embedded ball. At the time, Reed believed that his ball had bounced as he had been told so by a volunteer. However, a video replay later showed that it had not bounced. The American moved his ball before calling a rules official.
After a storm blew up on Twitter about the incident, Reed tweeted that McIlroy had been involved in a similar situation on the 18th, "and didn't even call a rules official over".
Rory McIlroy takes embedded ball relief on No. 18 during Round 3. pic.twitter.com/9D4HH4Gv5g
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 31, 2021
In a statement issued on Sunday, the PGA Tour said that both players were entitled to a free 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," said the PGA Tour.
"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."
Following Sunday's final round, McIlroy addressed the controversy.
"I've never tried to get away with anything out here," McIlroy said.
"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."
Picture credit: Gary Yee / Shutterstock.com