EDINBURGH (AFP) – Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Scottish Open on Friday (July 9) to round off a difficult day for the Northern Irishman after a spectator ran onto the course to take a club from his bag before he teed off.
McIlroy was waiting to get his round under way at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick alongside US Open champion Jon Rahm and American Justin Thomas.
Footage on social media showed a man walk onto the tee, take a headcover off McIlroy’s driver and then grab an iron from the bag as the former world number one looked on in bemusement.
“I was surprised. Everyone saw what happened on TV,” said McIlroy.
“It was handled efficiently and everything was OK. I had no idea who it was.”
McIlroy went on to shoot a level-par round of 71, but one under for his opening two rounds was not enough to stick around for the weekend.
By contrast, world number one Rahm continued his great form after winning his first major last month. He hit a 65 for a share of the lead on 11 under.
Rahm said it was possible to smell alcohol on the spectator’s breath as he was escorted off the course.
“He came in so confident and we thought he was going to take a picture or something. We thought he was maybe part of the camera crew or a photographer,” said the Spaniard.
“After a little bit, when he walked back and they were taking him out you could smell the reason why it happened. Me and Rory didn’t say anything. He was holding a six iron and I didn’t want to get hurt.”
A police statement said the man had been taken to hospital and that “enquiries are ongoing”.
Rahm was seven under for his opening 10 holes before two bogeys in three holes cost him the outright lead.
“I made some aggressive swings without thinking about it as much as I could have because I was playing so well and maybe could have taken a step back,” he added.
“If I just clean up some little mistakes it could be better.”
Belgian Thomas Detry and Englishman Jack Senior are also on 11 under.
Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and George Coetzee are just one shot back.
Westwood is seeking to win the Scottish Open for the second time, 23 years after his first title at Loch Lomond.
The Englishman was even par for his round through 15, but picked up four shots in the last three holes to fire himself right back into contention.