PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy praised for his sportsmanship

The incident which saw McIlroy widely praised on social media occurred on the third hole, when a TV reporter accidentally stepped on his ball in the rough.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Tiger Woods of the United States, Justin Thomas of the United States walk off the 18th green during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.   -  GETTY IMAGES

World number three Rory McIlroy has earned praise for upholding the spirit of the game after a bizarre incident in his second round at the PGA Championship.

The Northern Irishman's tee shot on the third hole sailed way right of the green on Friday, before the ball was accidentally stepped on by a TV reporter in the rough.

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McIlroy was entitled to replace the ball under the supervision of the official without penalty, but said he was “uncomfortable” having dropped it in a more favourable lie which gave him a potential chance to save par.

“The rule is try to replicate the (original) lie,” he said. “No one really knew what the lie was, but if everyone is going around looking for it, it obviously wasn't too good.”

He pushed the ball much deeper into the rough and eventually had to settle for a two-putt bogey.

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“At the end of the day golf is a game of integrity, and I never try to get away with anything out there,” said McIlroy, who signed for a 69 to finish one-under for the tournament - seven shots behind halfway leader Li Haotong.