When Rory McIlroy visited Golf Channel's Morning Drive it didn't take long before the topic of Patrick Reed's questionable pre-shot routine cropped up

Patrick Reed might think his rules brouhaha in the Bahamas won’t change much going forward but for the foreseeable future and beyond it will be the go-to question whenever a microphone is shoved under another player’s nose.

And it was the big talking point when Rory McIlroy visited Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Monday – and until the golf gets going in the Presidents Cup, and well beyond, it’s going to continue to crop up again and again and again.

McIlroy was his usual common-sense self, trying to say enough of what he thinks while remaining as diplomatic as possible about one of his peers.

“You try to give the player the benefit of the doubt. He’s in there trying to figure out what way to play the shot. It’s almost an obliviousness to it rather than actually anything intentful in terms of trying to get away with something,” McIlroy said.

“I think it’s his pre-shot routine, nearly. It doesn’t make it right what he did but, if it wasn’t Patrick Reed and it was someone else, it would’ve not been as big a deal as it’s been made out to be.

“A lot of people within the game, it’s almost a hobby to kick him while he’s down. It’s going to make things really difficult down in Australia for him.”

McIlroy had a two-shot penalty rescinded at the Northern Trust when he reached for what he thought was a stone in a bunker when in fact it was a clump of sand, a tournament where Reed won to help tie up his captain’s pick in the Presidents Cup.

And McIlroy stopped short of exonerating Reed completely.

“The live shot isn’t as incriminating as the slow-mo. That shot does look bad. It’s very hard for me not to think he didn’t feel what he was doing. It’s a hard one. I’d rather try to give someone the benefit of the doubt, take your penalty and move on. If he’s learned his lesson and doesn’t do it again then it’s a good thing.””