Open Championship: Rory McIlroy's day goes horribly wrong from the start

Well, at least the pressure’s off now.

Rory McIlroy stepped to the first tee at Royal Portrush as the betting favorite for the 148th Open Championship. He walked off the green a few minutes later humiliated by one of the worst scores he’s ever carded in a major—a quadruple-bogey 8 that deflated fans and detonated hopes. (For the current leaderboard, go here.)

McIlroy arrived at Royal Portrush holding the course record (a 61, shot when he was 16) and the hopes of the entire nation of Northern Ireland. But his very first tee shot hit a fan, broke her phone, and bounced into one of Portrush’s peculiar little internal out-of-bounds zones.

And it kept getting worse. His provisional tee shot landed in what turned out to be an unplayable lie, leading to McIlroy’s second penalty stroke on the first hole. He chipped onto the green, missed the first putt, and tapped in for a quadruple-bogey 8.

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PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Paul Casey of England hits his second shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the sixth tee during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Brooks Koepka of the United States shelters under an umbrella with caddie, Ricky Elliot on the 3rd hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 18, 2019 General view of a rainbow during the first round REUTERS/Ian Walton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays a shot on the 7th hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a shot on then 5th green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Thursday, July 18, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Golf - The 148th Open Championship - Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland - July 18, 2019 A general view of 'Tiger' written in the sand on the beach by the course in reference to Tiger Woods of the U.S. during the first round REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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This was only the second quad McIlroy ever carded in a major; the first came in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open. Per Golfweek’s Geoff Shackelford, that took McIlroy’s odds to win — as low as 8-1 to start the tournament — all the way down to 33-1 after a single hole. Not a great beginning.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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