'It's Nice To Provide The Audience At Home A Little Bit More Insight'

Rory McIlroy did a world-first on Thursday in the form of an in-play interview during The Masters

McIlroy wearing an airpod during The Masters for an on-course interview
The four-time Major winner did an on-course interview on the 9th hole during round one
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Golf fans got a surprise on Thursday at The Masters when Rory McIlroy was interviewed in-play during his round at Augusta National.

In-play interviews have been a new addition to PGA Tour coverage this year, with Max Homa (who also did an interview during his round on Thursday) starting the new feature at the Farmers Insurance Open. He was followed by Keith Mitchell at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, with Rory McIlroy finally giving it a go at the WGC-Match Play after initially being hesitant.

The four-time Major winner surprised viewers with his in-play chat while walking down the 9th hole, with social media divided. Many fans loved it but some were questioning whether it was a distraction from what is one of the biggest weeks of his career - with only The Masters left to wrap up in a career, and trophy cabinet, that features almost every accolade there is to win.

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McIlroy explained why he decided to take part: "Yeah, so the club reached out to us last week and just inquired if I would be interested in doing it," he said.

"I did it a couple weeks ago at the Match Play. It definitely feels a little less intrusive with the ear piece rather than someone right up next to you with the microphone like they've been doing it in Europe for a couple of years.

"I thought it would be a cool thing to do. I did it in Austin and didn't feel like it took me out of my rhythm in any way or made me think about things too much. So it's nice to provide the audience at home a little bit more insight into what's going on out here.

"I mean, I think with the previous chairman, he definitely brought things forward. Then I think since Chairman Ridley has come along, he's really tried to push the envelope as well. So I think Augusta have a great balance of blending that history and that tradition but also making sure we're keeping up with the times, I guess.

"I thought Max's was great at Torrey. I thought Keith Mitchell's was good at Pebble. I think they're the only two that I've watched, but I really enjoyed them. I thought Max provided some great insight into the hole he was playing, and I thought Keith did a really good job as well."

And who does he want to see do an in-play interview next? There's only one person, of course, and he admits that will never materialize.

"Tiger. There's only one answer there," before joking that the chances of that happening are "zero".

The Northern Irishman got off to a slow start in his ninth attempt at the career grand slam, with a level-par 72 that he described as "a little untidy in places".

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x