Rory McIlroy penalized for an incorrect drop

During the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, world number 2 Rory McIlroy received a two-stroke penalty for incorrectly dropping his ball on hole No. 7 of the Spyglass Hill course

by Andrea Gussoni
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Rory McIlroy penalized for an incorrect drop
© Getty Images Sport - Andrew Redington / Staff

During the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, world number 2 Rory McIlroy received a two-stroke penalty for incorrectly dropping his ball on hole No. 7 of the Spyglass Hill course. A costly mistake for the Northern Irishman, although he managed to finish with a card under par.

Even being No. 2 in the world, you can make serious mistakes, as Rory McIlroy showed during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. While playing on the Spyglass Hill course, the North- Irish sent his drive left on the 7th hole, his 16th hole of the day, and his ball ended up under a tree.

To escape, McIlroy chose to do a drop by moving backwards as much as he wanted on an imaginary line passing through the flag and the position of his ball. It was when he made the drop that he broke the rule.

Rory McIlroy, news

Indeed, he dropped a club length from this line, thinking it was allowed, which constitutes an infraction under rule 19.2.

As umpire Mark Dusbabek explained, the ball can be dropped a club length from where it was dropped, but the drop must be made precisely on that imaginary line. This incorrect shot turned Rory's bogey on this par 5 into a triple bogey.

Despite an excellent start to the game with 6 birdies in 14 holes, McIlroy held the lead in the tournament before encountering difficulties on the final holes. His bogey-triple bogey-bogey sequence between holes 15 and 17 forced him to finish with a card of 71, placing him in 39th place at the end of the first round.

Rule 19.2b states that when taking relief back down the line, the player may drop the original ball or another ball behind the location of the original ball, maintaining the location of the original ball between the hole and where the ball is dropped, with no limit on how far back the ball can be dropped.

However, the location on the line where the ball first hits the ground determines a relief zone of one club length in any direction, with certain restrictions including being no closer to the hole than the location of the original ball and to remain in the same area of the course as that originally touched by the ball when it was dropped.

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