Rory McIlroy had a solid start at Pebble Beach, taking the lead in the tournament with a five-under score after playing 14 holes. However, things took a turn when he faced a bit of trouble on the 6th hole, resulting in a bogey. The situation escalated on the 7th hole when an off-target tee shot left him near a tree.
In an attempt to recover, McIlroy decided to take a penalty drop, aligning with the flagstick. Here's where it gets tricky – a rule change in 2023 meant that dropping the ball one club length to the side incurred a two-stroke penalty. Unfortunately, that decision led to a treble bogey 8 on the hole.
Despite this setback, McIlroy managed to finish the round at 69, concluding three under par. Now, he faces the challenge of making up ground to catch up with the leader, Patrick Cantlay, who had an outstanding opening score of 64 at the AT&T. It's a reminder that even in the world of golf, unexpected rule changes can have a significant impact on a player's performance.