Rory McIlroy accidentally broke a fan's hand when a wayward drive hit an onlooker during his opening round at the 150th edition of the Open Championship at St Andrews.
During McIlroy’s opening round, he struck a wayward drive that hit Charlie Kane – a social media editor for the PGA Tour. Ironically, Kane was actually in attendance at the historic course as a supporter rather than for work.
McIlroy’s tee shot hit Kane’s left hand, and he was whisked off to St Andrew’s Community Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured hand. Kane showed off his injury on Twitter with a number of photos in which his hand was visibly discoloured and swollen.
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He captioned the tweet by writing: “Fractured hand after Rory McIlroy’s drive landed on my knuckle. He shouted fore. I did not heed the warning. #TheOpen”
Other than the dodgy drive, it was a strong day for McIlroy as he finished the opening round on six-under. He followed it up with a solid second day to reach 10-under par, three shots behind Australian Cameron Smith.
The Northern Irishman’s opening score was his lowest first round at The Open since 2014, where he also put up a score of 66 – and went on to win the tournament outright. Speaking to Sky Sports, McIlroy said: “I played well. Very solid. I think everyone knows, on this golf course, you have to make your score going out and I did that.
“I started off tremendously with a bonus at the first; little bit of adrenaline with that second shot and hit it a bit far. Birdied the par five, birdied a couple of those short par fours with a wedge in my hand and then, on the back nine, even though it is down wind, it got so tricky.
“I birdied the holes that I should have birdied today and only made one mistake. The way this golf course is playing, how firm and bouncy and tricky it is, it is all about limiting your mistakes, and one bogey out there today, it was good.”
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McIlroy will look to secure his first major title since 2014 as he enters ‘Moving Day’ still very much in the hunt. Smith leads while Cameron Young is two shots behind, one shot over McIlrory and Viktor Hovland.
In the 144th edition of The Open back in 2015 – the last time the major was contested at St Andrews – Zach Johnson emerged from a three-man playoff to win the tournament, defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole playoff. Along with the famous Claret Jug, the American took home £1.15 million.
This week’s 150th Open will be the largest in the Championship’s revered history, with a record-breaking 290,000 fans set to attend the course across the week. Unprecedented demand to attend the milestone event led to more than 1.3 million applications in the ticket ballot – and the highest-ever number of general admission tickets issued to fans.
The attendance surpasses the previous high mark set at St Andrews in 2000 when 239,000 spectators watched Woods lift the Claret Jug for the first time.
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