Number one in the world rankings, Rory McIlroy hit a tee shot that temporarily disappeared into a spectator’s pocket at a recent PGA Championship. McIlroy’s drive on the 14th hole at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club ricocheted off of a pine tree and dropped straight down. No one knew where it was until a fan realised it was in his shorts pocket. The question was asked about whether the fan could souvenir the ball but he was told by PGA Tour rules official Robby Ware that he thought it may be required. He also made sure the fan had not moved after the ball went into his pocket.
McIlroy was given a free drop under Rule 19-a-1 and went on to make par. McIlroy let the fan retrieve the ball: “I know how sweaty my pockets are. I wasn’t going into anyone else’s.” “I got a lucky break there. That ball could have went anywhere off that tree, and I was able to hit it on the green and make par there and keep the momentum going.’’ “I did hit the ball up someone’s trouser leg at the Scottish Open this year, though. I need to stop hitting it off line. Things happen there.”