Rory McIlroy may have found his strangest lie to date on Friday at the Tour Championship.
Playing the par-4 14th at East Lake in the second round, McIlroy’s tee shot sailed right and into a tree. The ball rattled around in the tree briefly before falling straight down — and into the right-front shorts pocket of a fan that was running toward the ball.
The fan remained in place, surrounded by a laughing gallery, as the world No. 1 made his way toward the ball. McIlroy and the fan cracked a few jokes, then shook hands. But that wasn’t where it ended. The fan had to continue standing still until a PGA Tour rules official could come over and give his ruling: that McIlroy was entitled to free relief from the man’s pocket where he caught the ball.
From there, McIlroy found the green and left with a smile on his face.
At the 2012 PGA Championship, McIlroy’s drive got stuck in a tree en route to victory at Kiawah Island. A season later, as McIlroy was telling the immobilized fan, his ball found its way up a fan’s pant leg.
McIlroy went on to make par.