Rory McIlroy Cleared After Embedded Ball Controversy

The four-time Major winner says the worst thing in golf is to be labeled a cheater

Rory McIlroy Cleared After Embedded Ball Controversy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The four-time Major winner says the worst thing in golf is to be labeled a cheater

Rory McIlroy Cleared After Embedded Ball Controversy

Rory McIlroy has been cleared by the PGA Tour after questions emerged following a drop he took for an embedded lie at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Patrick Reed was under scrutiny for a drop he took on the 10th hole in the third round, with McIlroy going through something very similar on the same day.

McIlroy took his drop by himself whereas Reed called a rules official for his.

Reed's twitter account said that McIlroy "did the same thing today on hole 18," and and that he "didn't even call a rule official over to deem the ball embedded."

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Rory was filmed telling his playing partner that he thought his ball was embedded and he was going to take a drop.

“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,” the PGA Tour said in a statement regarding both drops taken by Reed and McIlroy.

Related: Patrick Reed responds to rules controversy

“Both players took proper relief under the [rules]. The committee is comfortable with how both players proceeded given the fact that they used the evidence they had at the time,” the statement read."

Watch: McIlroy's drop or an embedded ball

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McIlroy says he was confident he could take relief and the worst thing in golf is to be labeled a cheater.

“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,” McIlroy said.

“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.

“Like everyone out here, it's the worst thing in golf to be labeled as someone that tries to get away with something or labeled a cheater and that's just not how you want your reputation to be.

“I've never tried to get away with anything out here.

"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.”

Related: Rory McIlroy What's in the bag?

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x