British Open 2019: Rory McIlroy finds O.B., makes 8 in disastrous start at Royal Portrush

July 18, 2019

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Rory McIlroy could hardly have faced more pressure on the first tee of the 2019 Open Championship. The native son. The tournament favorite. McIlroy had finished his range session at Royal Portrush with a series of driving irons, which is exactly what the 424-yard par-4 1st hole demanded.

As he walked from the putting green to the first tee, the crowd roared. As he was introduced, the first of his group, the crowd roared again. The wind was picking up, and rain began to fall. And then he hit his tee shot, and the crowd roared for a moment, and then fell silent.

He pulled that driving iron at No. 1 and hit a high, hard hook that landed well left and kicked into the crowd, out of bounds left of the fairway. Watch for yourself here.

Things hardly got better from there. McIlroy hooked his provisional tee shot, too, then hit his 4th shot left again, his club tugged by the thick rough.

He needed help finding that ball, which required a drop for an unplayable lie. Then McIlroy nearly got up-and-down — but his putt for triple bogey just slid by the edge. In the end, it added up to a quadruple-bogey 8 for McIlroy, leaving him wincing as he walked to No. 2 tee. The only good news? He still had 71 holes to go.

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