The 2021 Masters got underway on Thursday, with 88 of the world’s best players teeing off at Augusta National Golf Club. Among them was four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.
The Northern Irishman got off to a tepid start in the first round, rattling off pars on each of the first four holes. Unfortunately, his play turned worse through the next stretch, as he carded three consecutive bogies.
His most adventurous hole came at the par-4 7th, where he drove it into the left rough. With a tree in his path, McIlroy tried to hook his approach shot, but hung the ball out to the right of the green. As it landed, it appeared to hit a patron walking in the crowd.
That person turned out to be McIlroy’s father, Gerry. Take a look:
— Rory McIlroy Tracker (@RMTracker) April 8, 2021
McIlroy went on to bogey the hole after the improbable bounce off of his father. At the time, he fell back to 3-over par, well behind the tournament’s leaders.
CBS Sports reporter Kyle Porter was nearby on the 7th hole and confirmed that the ball had hit McIlroy’s father as he walked nearby. As Gerry walked away, laughing, he quipped that he should ask his son for an autographed glove, per Porter.
Was standing on No. 7 when Rory flared one out to the right and hit his dad in the leg. As he limped away, laughing, he looked over at us and said, "I should ask for an autographed glove."
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 8, 2021
McIlroy bounced back from the errant shot on eight with his first birdie of the day on eight. However, he lost another stroke with a bogey on the 9th and made the turn to the back-nine at 3-over.
The Masters has been the only major championship to evade McIlroy over the course of his career. In 2011, he entered the final round at August with a four-shot lead, but had a infamous collapse on Sunday, finished tied for 15th.
McIlroy will try to right the ship in Thursday’s round before making a push this weekend for the green jacket.