The Masters is the only major championship Rory McIlroy has yet to win and he’ll certainly have his work cut out for him if he wants to slip on that elusive green jacket come Sunday evening. On a tough scoring day at Augusta National on Thursday, McIlroy began his seventh attempt at the career Grand Slam with a 4-over round of 76, leaving him seven shots back of the lead when he walked off the golf course (it got worse as the day moved along).
While there weren’t many highlights from Rory on Thursday, there was one moment at the seventh hole that he’ll certainly never forget as he struck a patron with one of his many errant shots on the day. But this wasn’t just any patron as the man he hit was none other than his own father.
The 2021 edition of The Masters is Rory McIlroy’s seventh attempt at the career Grand Slam
10 years ago, it seemed as if The Masters would be Rory McIlroy’s first major championship victory as the then-21-year-old took a four-shot lead into the final round at Augusta but then blew up on Sunday with a final-round 80, the worst round by a 54-hole leader in Masters history.
He bounced back nicely, capturing his first major just a few months later with a record-setting performance at the U.S. Open at Congressional and then added the PGA Championship to his major resume in 2012. In 2014, he won The Open Championship to complete the third leg of the career of Grand Slam and then added a second PGA Championship the following month.
Rory took his first shot at the career Grand Slam at the 2015 edition of The Masters and finished fourth, six shots behind winner Jordan Spieth. And that’s the closest he’s come to a green jacket. It’s not as if he doesn’t play well at Augusta as he’s finished 10th or better four of the last five years. But there always seems to be that one round that keeps him from competing, which may have happened again on Thursday.
He opened the 2021 edition of The Masters with a 4-over 76
Rory McIlroy opened the 2021 edition of The Masters with four consecutive pars but followed up with three consecutive bogeys. He got a shot back by making birdie at the par-5 eighth but then bogeyed the ninth to close his first nine at 3-over.
After a par at the 10th, McIlroy found the water at the 505-yard 11th, which led to another bogey, and following a par at the 12th, he again found the water at the par-5 13th, which led to yet another bogey. He was 1-under the final five holes, making birdie at the par-5 15th, and finished with a 4-over 76. At the time, he was seven shots back of the lead but Rory will enter Friday’s second round 11 shots behind as Justin Rose posted an incredible 7-under 65.
Rory McIlroy hit his own father with an errant shot at the seventh hole
Following the aforementioned bogeys at the fifth and sixth, Rory McIlroy hit his tee shot at the 450-yard, par-4 seventh off to the left and was faced with a difficult second. He attempted to hit a draw but the shot never turned and kept to the right, eventually coming down where his father, Gerry, was standing.
The ball hit the elder McIlroy’s leg and rolled back a few yards as Rory had a few laughs at his father’s expense. He later joked that he’d be willing to autograph a bag of frozen peas for his old man. So at least there was one fun moment on a not-so-fun day.