Rory McIlroy's hopes for an Open title in front of home crowds suffered a setback when the Ulsterman hit his opening tee shot out of bounds en route to a quadruple bogey.
A tournament that Rory McIlroy has dreamed about for years quickly turned into a nightmare when his opening shot at The 148th Open sailed out of bounds.
Making his first-ever major start in his native Northern Ireland, McIlroy had high hopes of lifting the Claret Jug in front of partisan crowds. But an iron off the par-4 first hole drifted left and out of bounds, sparking a disaster that led to a quadruple bogey 8.
McIlroy's mastery of the Dunluce Links has been well-documented, with the 61 he shot as a 16-year-old still standing as the course record. But his re-load on the opening tee found the left rough, and his subsequent approach sailed into a greenside bush and led to an unplayable lie. McIlroy still seemed out of sorts over the next few holes, missing a short birdie putt on No. 2 and making bogey on No. 3 to drop to 5 over in the early going.
This was just the second time that McIlroy has made a quadruple bogey on a par-4 in a PGA Tour event, the only other instance coming at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
McIlroy has won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including The Players in March, and he entered this week as one of the pre-tournament favorites. Those hopes suffered a significant setback with his opening blunder, with McIlroy left scrambling to salvage any chance of a fourth straight top-5 finish in The Open dating back to his 2014 victory at Royal Liverpool.