One of the coolest aspects of attending a professional golf tournament as a fan is how close you can get to the players. Even though there are ropes separating you from them, it’s still the only sport where you can essentially be a foot away from one of your heroes while they pound a driver or stripe an iron.
One fan at this week’s Horizon Irish Open on the DP World Tour got extra close to one of the world’s best, Rory McIlroy, and it wasn’t because he broke any rules by sneaking under the ropes. McIlroy actually invited him inside. Wait, what?
At the par-5 10th at the K Club in Ireland, McIlroy’s first hole of the day, the Northern Irishman’s round got off to an ominous start when his drive missed the fairway and plugged in the long rough. When he and partner Billy Horschel arrived on the scene, they were having trouble locating exactly where it had plugged. Per rule 18.2b, if McIlroy was unable to locate the ball within three minutes, it’d be deemed lost, and he’d have to return to the tee box, immediately starting double bogey or worse in the face.
A few friendly Irish fans promptly piped up, one of them claiming he knew where it was. “Let this lad in,” one fan says in a video captured by another fan. That’s just what McIlroy and Horschel did, with Horschel asking him to come show them where McIlroy’s ball was. “Pressure’s on now,” says another fan. You’re damn right it was.
Nerve wracking, to say the least. But the fan came through in a big way and got a well-deserved ovation out of it. Well done, good sir. Unfortunately, McIlroy made bogey anyway, though it could have been worse.
Now, cue the Golf Twitter crybabies complaining that this would only happen for McIlroy, ignoring the fact that the man is literally playing a tournament less than three hours from where he grew up.