Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Rory McIlroy Hurt by Strange Mistake and Rule

James Evens@JamesEvensCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2012

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 27:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland during the second round of Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 27, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy burst into the spotlight as one of the premier golfers in the world with his dominating performance in the 2011 U.S. Open, and now finds himself in a battle with one of the best golfers in the world, Tiger Woods.

Some think McIlroy is shaping up to be the next dominant golfer on tour, but his youth got the best of him at Abu Dhabi in the second round.

While on the ninth hole, McIlory casually took some sand off the green before hitting his shot.

Here is how the rule is stated on the USGA website, which it should noted was not the governing body of this tournament: "A player must not improve or allow to be improved: Removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position."

The rule is extremely confusing, but McIlroy's youth likely cost him in this one.

After the round, McIlory told ESPN it was a mental error: "I didn't even think about it," he said. "I just went and brushed the sand and Luke said, 'Don't think you can do that,' and it came to me right away. One of those things. I'll definitely not do it again. Just a mental error."

A two-stroke penalty was accessed to McIlroy costing him a share of the lead after the second round.

Luckily for McIlory, he is playing some great golf right now and is just two stroke off the lead in what could be a very exciting finish. 

With this two-stroke penalty, McIlory is put back though and will have some ground to cover before he can reclaim the lead, plus that Tiger guy seems to be lurking and tied with him now as well.