Rory McIlroy grew up on Royal Portrush, but he definitely looked like a first-timer on the opening hole of the British Open on Thursday.
McIlroy took a quadruple-bogey eight on the hole after a series of bad shots left him in the tall rough on the left, with the gusting wind pushing his ball that direction.
His nightmare start unfolded thusly: His first drive hooked out of bounds to the left. His provisional sailed left, too, into the deep rough. So he was hitting three, and that shot wound up in the waist-high grass to the left of the green.
McIlroy had an unplayable lie, so he took a drop and therefore was hitting six. That chip landed about six feet from the pin, and he two-putted from there.
He also triple-bogeyed No. 18, double-bogeyed No. 16 and bogeyed No. 3, while managing to birdie at Nos. 7 and 9 to finish with an eight-over-par 79, tied for his worst in the British Open’s first round.
Fourteen years ago, at age 16, McIlroy shot a course-record 61 at Portrush in the second qualifying round of the North of Ireland Championship. His card is in a display case at the club.