Hours after Patrick Reed took controversial relief from what he claimed was an embedded-ball lie at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, Rory McIlroy was ensnared by association by Reed or someone associated with his team.
From both Reed’s Twitter account and an account, @useGolfFACTS, there were accusations that McIlroy also took similar relief from an purported embedded ball lie in the same round. Reed and the @useGolfFACTS account were unhappy the former Masters winner was getting more scrutiny for his application of embedded-ball relief than McIlroy.
Video later released by the PGA Tour did show McIlroy similarly taking relief from a lie in the rough in which he claimed his ball had been embedded. Upon review of the video, it appeared McIlroy’s ball did not plug initially, though there may have been a chance his ball then landed back in its original pitch mark.
Defenders of how Reed took relief were angry McIlroy was not getting similar scrutiny.
As it turns out, however, McIlroy’s ball was plugged. And it wasn’t because of the impact of his second shot on the par-5 18th hole at Torrey Pines’ South Course. Rather, the ball was embedded because a marshal accidentally stepped on the ball, and McIlroy didn’t see it.
Rory said he found out on Monday from the tour that a marshal had stepped on his ball at Torrey Pines on Saturday. Added that he'd ben questioning himself and what he'd seen prior to that. "I started to doubt myself."
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) February 3, 2021
Now it makes sense, though the video evidence wasn’t showed to make it clear McIlroy did indeed have an embedded ball — it just wasn’t why he thought it happened.