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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

Rory McIlroy involved in lengthy dispute over drop at The Players

Rory McIlroy discusses where to take a drop

Rory McIlroy took a drop during the first round of The Players Championship on Thursday that resulted in some scrutiny.

McIlroy hit his tee shot into the water on the par-4 7th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla. After the four-time major champion determined where he felt was the best spot to take his drop, playing partners Viktor Hovland and Jordan Spieth came over to question whether McIlroy was certain the drop was legal.

The issue was whether the ball hit above the red hazard line before going into the water. If it did, McIlroy would be able to drop at the spot where he thought it landed. If the ball bounced below (or outside) the red line, McIlroy would have to drop at the point where the ball appeared to cross over into the hazard, which would have been a lot further back.

“I think that my ball bounced above the red line, but it’s not definitive,” McIlroy could be heard saying. “I’m pretty comfortable that it did, but we’re trying to check with TV and they can’t say.”

Hovland said he felt the drop was “very speculative.” Spieth then told McIlroy that all of the members of the media who watched the shot live thought the ball landed below the red line.

“Everyone that I’m hearing that had eyes on it, which again is not what matters, is saying there’re 100 percent certain it landed below the line, that’s all I’m saying,” Spieth said.

The entire exchange, which lasted nearly 10 minutes, was captured by Golf Channel. You can see it below:

The rules officials checked to see if there were any angles of the shot captured by television crews that would show where the ball bounced, but there were not. That means it was ultimately up to McIlroy to decide where his drop should be taken. There is always a risk of being assessed a penalty if you take an illegal drop, but in this case it did not sound like there was much evidence either way.

McIlroy was leading the tournament at the time. He went on to double-bogey the hole and fall into second.

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