Rory McIlroy Dodges Golf Ball During Wells Fargo Opening Round

The world number three's title defence didn't get off to the best of starts

Rory McIlroy dodges golf ball
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A fan threw a golf ball with an earplug attached to it at the world number three during yesterday's opening round at Quail Hollow

Rory McIlroy Dodges Golf Ball During Wells Fargo Opening Round

Rory McIlroy began his defence of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow yesterday but had to contend with a flying golf ball with an earplug attached to it.

The 'fan' threw the object towards the Northern-Irishman on the sixth tee.

“It was just one of those things,” McIlroy said.

“It was a golf ball with an earplug stuck on it, so it was sort of strange. Charlotte’s finest sorted it out and got him off the property, thankfully.”

World number five Rickie Fowler was playing with McIlroy and said “So random. The guy tried to say it was a gift. I don’t know why you would give a gift of a golf ball with an earplug attached to it.”

McIlroy's defence didn't get off to the best of starts.

Beginning on the back-nine, he bogeyed 12 and 13 before a three-putt double-bogey on 18 to turn in four over.

McIlroy dodges golf ball

A dejected Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy

However, he played the front-nine in three under which included three birdies in a row to get into the clubhouse at one-over-par.

It was his first start since the Masters and only the second time he had completed 18 holes since finishing T10th at Augusta.

“I started off pretty well today but then there was just some shots where I was thinking so much about the swing rather than actually the shot that I was trying to hit and that was really the problem for the front nine.

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“I would much rather be in red numbers but I’m much happier where I am now than I was three hours ago.

"I just need to go out tomorrow and shoot a good second round, something in the 60s, to get myself back into the tournament going into the weekend.”

Playing partner Rickie Fowler shot a one-under-par 71 which included a double-bogey five at the par-3 17th hole.

Another pair of playing partners Steve Wheatcroft and Andrew Loupe are leading on seven-under-par after 65's.

On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy announced that he will not play the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth later this month.

The Ulsterman will host the Irish Open on the European Tour the week before the BMW PGA from 19th-22nd May at the K Club in County Kildare.


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. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, 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 2-6. 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: Titleist Pro V1x