Jordan Spieth confronts Rory McIlroy as PGA Tour stars involved in heated rules debate

webnexttech | Jordan Spieth confronts Rory McIlroy as PGA Tour stars involved in heated rules debate

Jordan Spieth stepped in to question a penalty drop by Rory McIlroy, after the latter hit his tee shot on the seventh into the water during the opening round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy enjoyed a superb start to his week, carding a seven-under-par 65 in his opening round to set an early lead. Thursday’s showing was not without controversy though, after the Northern Irishman found the drink with a hooked tee shot with three holes left to play. After finding the water hazard down the left-hand-side of the seventh fairway, McIlroy opted to take a drop in an area in which he believed to be the entry point of his ball. READ MORE: Golf news LIVE: Rory McIlroy on fire at The Players Championship as Xander Schauffele starts well Players are required to identify the spot in which the ball landed before falling into the the hazard in order to take the drop. If it is found that the errant ball entered the hazard beyond the red boundary line, then the player is required to return to the tee box to hit their third shot. McIlroy appeared confident that his ball had bounced before the red line before entering the water, but Spieth was not convinced. After taking his penalty drop in the left rough, both Spieth and Viktor Hovland interjected to double check that McIlroy’s drop was in fact a legitimate one. PGA Tour Live cameras captured the full debate between the playing partners, with McIlroy heard shouting across the fairway to Spieth: “I’m pretty confident it did [bounce above the red boundary line]. Having his say, the American responded: “Everyone I’m hearing that had eyes on it, which again is not what matters, are saying they are 100 percent certain it landed below the line, that is all I’m saying.” For all the latest on news, politics, sports, and showbiz from the USA, go to The Mirror US. “Who are you talking about?” McIlroy quickly replied, before Spieth appeared to point over to members of the broadcasting crew and media. Spieth did appear to have his playing partner’s best interests at heart during the debate, adding: “The media people back on the tee are saying, so I thought, ‘Hey, shall we check so that you don’t take a wrong drop?’.” With no conclusive evidence on the entry point of the ball, McIlroy was able to drop from the rough but was only able to make double bogey to slip back to six-under-par for the day. He quickly put this blemish to the back of his mind though, finishing his round with a par and birdie to set the clubhouse lead in Florida at seven-under. The concern at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week were McIlroy’s iron play, but four-time major winner enjoyed plenty of improvements on Thursday. The Northern Irishman hit 15 out of 18 greens on day one at TPC Sawgrass, and ended his round second in the strokes gained through approach to green leaderboard.

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