WATCH: Fan takes Rory McIlroy drive to the face (on the fly!)
DUBLIN, Ohio — Rory McIlroy averages 314.4 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour this year, making him the second-longest player on Tour. That means, by some measurement, he’d be the player you’d second-least like to have hit you in the face — on the fly — with a tee shot. But that’s exactly the situation one unfortunately-placed fan ran into on Friday on No. 7 at the Memorial.
McIlroy’s driver at the par-5 sailed down the right rough line. As the ball came down, someone from the tee yelled ‘Fore right!’ but not soon enough to save one pink-shirted man standing in the rough line there. The ball bounced off his face, sending him reeling. McIlroy winced from the tee, feeling bad that he hadn’t yelled louder.
“I felt bad because I usually — I thought it was going to pitch in the first cut and run into the heavier stuff, I didn’t think it was going to fly all the way there,” he said.
McIlroy did what he could to make it right, signing a golf glove for the man and apologizing for the misfire.
“Yeah, I guess I caught him right under his lip. He had like a pretty deep gash sort of on his chin. I’m sorry, not much a glove does for that—maybe stop the bleeding a little bit,” he said wryly. “I just said I’m sorry.”
The drive ended up traveling 316 yards. The swollen-jawed man, newly equipped with a golf glove and an icepack, got a ride from a tournament official to receive treatment, although he appeared to be in good spirits.
McIlroy would narrowly miss an 11-footer for birdie and went on to par the hole. He ended up missing the cut by one shot after a second-round 71.