So much for the hometown favorite.
Rory McIlroy’s homecoming at The Open championship on Thursday was off to a rough start for the Northern Ireland native. Despite entering the tournament with the course record at Portrush and the betting favorite, McIlroy bombed his first hole after receiving a hearty ovation before he teed off.
The 30-year-old began his day by pulling his first shot to the left out of bounds. His next shot was back in play, but also pulled left into the gorse. He followed that up by hitting his ball into some deeper rough and had to take an unplayable.
By the time he was done with the par-4, he had finished with a quadruple-bogey 8.
It was a shocking result for the No. 3 golfer in the world, who has played over 10,000 holes in his career but has only shot a quad three other times. He did it once last year at the Honda Classic and also at the U.S. Open in 2013 and at Memorial in 2012.
Only two golfers in the last 25 years have won a major after shooting a triple-bogey or worse. Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship in 2011 and Tiger Woods did it when he won the 2000 U.S. Open. No one has won with a quad or worse in that span, though.
The good news for McIlroy is it was not even the worst performance of the day.
David Duval shot a quadruple-bogey on a par-4 during the fifth hole and then collapsed further with a 13 on the par-5 seventh hole. This came after he opened the day with two straight birdies.
Tiger Woods did not fare well, either. The Masters winner finished the day toward the bottom of the pack, along with McIlroy, entering the final hole at six over par.
Woods appeared to grimace after his first shot, too.
Neither are likely to make the cut after Friday’s round.