The plot thickens...
It has emerged that, like Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy also took free relief from an "embedded lie" during the third round of the Famers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines - despite his ball also having bounced upon impact.
Former Masters champion Reed found himself at the centre of yet another rules imbroglio yesterday after being given a free drop from a purported embedded lie on the tenth, despite television footage having shown his ball bouncing forwards after it landed, making it almost impossible that the ball had indeed embedded into the ground.
The PGA Tour subsequently cleared the American of any malfeasance, with Reed telling CBS Sports' Amanda Balionis that one rules official told him that he "did exactly what you’re supposed to do".
In the meantime, a social media account widely believed to be operated by members of Reed's inner circle tweeted a series of posts alleging that Rory McIlroy had done precisely the same thing yesterday.
The PGA Tour has since released footage to support that claim...
Rory McIlroy takes embedded ball relief on No. 18 during Round 3. pic.twitter.com/9D4HH4Gv5g— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 31, 2021
You can clearly see McIlroy's ball bounce upon impact before nestling down in the ground. It should also be noted that, unlike Reed, he did not call in an official for a ruling before proceeding to take a drop.
The PGA Tour subsequently released a statement on the incidents, saying:
“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.
“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 any 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.”
Entering today's final round, Reed was tied for the lead with Mexico's Carlos Ortiz.