Rory McIlroy was left with one of the most awkward lies of his career when a tee shot landed right in a female fan’s lap.
The Europe Ryder Cup hero is in action at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai as he looks to end a solid season on a high. However, during his first round, a tee shot at the par three 13th didn’t go according to plan as the ball missed the green and flew into the crowd.
No one was hurt but the ball came to rest right in the lap of a fan sat near the green. To her credit, the fan remained still and waited for McIlroy to arrive.
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The scene triggered laughter from the galleries, which parted to give the woman space. The giggles then intensified as McIlroy approached, with the 34-year-old jokingly shaping to hit his second shot from the woman’s body. He also could be heard saying 'er, referee?"
The chief referee arrived to clarify the situation and the fan was eventually allowed to hand the ball back to McIlroy and get to her feet. The ball was then placed in the rough where she had been sat, with McIlroy carding a bogey four on the hole.
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McIlroy ended his round at one under par, four shots off the lead, jointly held by Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard and French pair Mattieu Pavon and Julien Guerrier. It has been an eventful week for the Northern Irishman, who resigned as a player director on the PGA Tour policy board.
The world number two McIlroy had spoken with the media ahead of the Tour Championship about ongoing discussions to shape the future of men’s professional golf, but admitted he did not enjoy being on the inside of those talks.
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The Framework Agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – which blinded players when it was announced in June – was due to be finalised by the end of the year, although meeting that deadline now appears unlikely. McIlroy, who was a key figure in the PGA Tour’s battle against the threat of LIV golf, has now tendered his resignation after two years on the board.
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