AUGUSTA, Georgia — As Rory McIlroy stood underneath the tall pines down the left aspect of the No. 7 fairway at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership on Thursday, he lasered in on a secure spot to land his second shot.
McIlroy discovered what he thought was the proper goal — an older man in a white golf shirt and blue shorts.
Sadly for McIlroy’s father, Gerry, he hit the ball proper the place he needed — however just a bit too far. The wayward shot struck his father at the back of his leg as he walked to the inexperienced.
“In equity, it was the place I used to be making an attempt to show it off,” McIlroy mentioned. “It was an ideal shot — it was lifeless straight. I feel he was OK. He did not limp away, he walked away fairly swiftly.”
It was one in all fairly a couple of errant photographs for McIlroy, who shot a 4-over 76 within the first spherical of the eighty fifth version of the Masters and trails leader Justin Rose by 11 shots. It was his third straight opening spherical over par at Augusta Nationwide, the place he is making an attempt to grow to be solely the sixth participant to finish the profession Grand Slam.
“My aim is to play properly and at the least give myself an opportunity,” McIlroy mentioned. “I imply, truthfully I am fairly inspired with how I hit it on the best way in. I hit some free photographs on the market, however after hitting the 6-iron within the water on 13, I hit some actually good photographs coming in, so I am inspired by that.”
After hitting his second shot into Rae’s Creek in entrance of the inexperienced on No. 13, McIlroy carded his sixth bogey of the spherical to fall to five over. He birdied the par-5 fifteenth after which made par on the final three holes.
McIlroy, a former world No. 1, hasn’t gained on tour in additional than 17 months. His final main championship win got here on the 2014 PGA Championship. He just lately introduced on famend swing coach Pete Cowen to assist him flip issues round. He admitted after his opening spherical that he is nonetheless not fully comfy.
“I feel any time you are engaged on issues together with your swing, it should really feel very totally different, however it’s not as if I have not accomplished this stuff earlier than,” he mentioned. “I feel that is the factor. It is such as you get into these unhealthy habits and that feels regular, and then you definitely get it again into place the place I have been 1,000,000 instances earlier than and it simply feels somewhat totally different.”
The excellent news for McIlroy is that he was in an analogous place in November, when he opened with a 3-over 75. He went 14 underneath over the ultimate 54 holes and completed in a tie for fifth, his sixth top-10 in his previous seven Masters begins.
Fortunately, his father was fantastic, too. Gerry McIlroy joked to reporters that he would possibly ask for an autographed glove after taking one for the crew. His son’s ball would have wound up in a a lot worse place if it hadn’t hit his leg.
“He is seen me signal loads of stuff over time, so I feel that is the least of his worries,” McIlroy mentioned. “I feel he simply must go and put some ice on — possibly I will autograph a bag of frozen peas for him.”