Rory McIlroy was entitled to take a similar free drop to Patrick Reed at the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday, says the PGA Tour.
Eventual winner Reed was caught up in controversy when he moved his ball, which he believed to be embedded, before calling in a rules official.
World number seven McIlroy took a similar free drop at the 18th without consulting the rules officials.
The PGA Tour confirmed both players proceeded “as the rule allows”.
McIlroy’s closing one-over-par 73 left him six under, eight behind Reed, who won on 14 under par.
‘McIlroy did the same thing’ – Reed
Following Saturday’s action, Reed said in a Twitter exchange that McIlroy “did the same thing today on hole 18 and didn’t even call a rules official over”.
The Northern Irishman’s second shot at the 18th on Saturday finished in the rough and the four-time major champion informed playing partner Rory Sabbatini that he had an embedded ball and would be taking relief.
Television replays showed McIlroy’s ball bounce before coming to a stop, similar to the Reed incident, and he took free relief without consulting an official – as the rules allow.
A PGA Tour statement said that McIlroy had been in “virtually the same situation that Patrick Reed faced” on the 10th hole during his third round.
“It was reasonable for both players to conclude – based on the fact that they did not see the ball land, but given the lie of the ball in soft course conditions – that they proceed as the Rule allows for a potential embedded ball,” added the statement.
“They marked, lifted and assessed the situation to determine if the ball was embedded. Patrick went one step further and called in a rules official to be sure his assessment would not be questioned (although this step is not required).”
Speaking after his final round, McIlroy, who had not been told in advance that the PGA Tour would be issuing a statement on the issue, insisted he has “never tried to get away with anything out there”.
“Our game is about integrity and it’s about doing the right thing. I always try to do the right thing and hopefully people see that. I feel like I have a reputation of that,” he said.
“[It} was one of those things that I guess Patrick [Reed] and I both went on the information that we had and made those determinations.
“I guess people can jump to conclusions, but at the same time we were well within our rights to do what we did.”
The incident overshadowed another disappointing final-day performance by the former world number one.
He started the day only three behind over overnight leaders Reed and Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz.
Birdies at the sixth and eighth kept him on the fringes of contention but a bogey at the 10th stalled his progress and another shot went on the par-five 13th before a birdie on 14 was followed by a double bogey at the next.