Well, at least the pressure’s off now.
Rory McIlroy stepped to the first tee at Royal Portrush as the betting favorite for the 148th Open Championship. He walked off the green a few minutes later humiliated by one of the worst scores he’s ever carded in a major — a quadruple-bogey 8 that deflated fans and detonated hopes.
McIlroy arrived at Royal Portrush holding the course record (a 61, shot when he was 16) and the hopes of the entire nation of Northern Ireland. But his very first tee shot hit a fan, broke her phone and bounced into one of Portrush’s peculiar little internal out-of-bounds zones.
And it kept getting worse. His provisional tee shot landed in what turned out to be an unplayable lie, leading to McIlroy’s second penalty stroke on the first hole. He chipped onto the green, missed the first putt, and tapped in for a quadruple-bogey 8.
This was only the second quad McIlroy ever carded in a major; the first came in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open. Per Golfweek’s Geoff Shackelford, that took McIlroy’s odds to win — as low as 8-1 to start the tournament — all the way down to 33-1 after a single hole. Not a great beginning.
It didn’t get any better from there. McIlroy managed to work his way down to +3, but then three-putted from inside three feet on the 16th hole, and triple-bogeyed on the final hole to finish at +8 for the day. Painful and embarrassing, but at least it’s over now.
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