On the par-4 No. 3 Rory McIlroy pulled his drive into the trees on the left and his ball laid to rest against a root. He tried to hit a miracle shot with a 7-iron, but it probably wasn’t the best decision.
Right before McIlroy pulled the trigger, TNT commentator David Feherty was in disbelief that McIlroy was going to hit the shot because of the risk for wrist injury. It was like watching a trainwreck happen in front of you.
After impact the club flew out of McIlroy’s hands and he immediately grabbed his wrist and grimaced in pain.
For a while, it appeared like Rory would be forced to withdraw because he might further hurt himself. The Twitter world and everyone in the media center cried for him to stop playing. I must say, it was tough to watch. I had sympathy pains and felt sick to my stomach.
Mentor, friend and playing partner Darren Clarke said to Rory on the fourth tee: “Don’t do anything stupid for the sake of playing, be smart.”
He continued to play, letting go of the club on his follow-through and grabbing his wrist. On the 5th he was in so much pain that he had to switch from his right to his left hand to stick the tee in the ground.
McIlroy wanted to continue and see how it felt after a few more shots. He finally asked for medical attention. The physio examined Rory and determined he couldn’t injure himself more by playing, which seemed to be all the 22-year-old golfer needed to hear. He’s receiving treatment — stretching, icing, Advil — on the course in between holes. His arm has now been wrapped.
In the meantime, McIlroy made two consecutive birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. Since he broke his 7-iron, he had to hit his 8-iron 185 yards on the par-3 No. 7. He stuck it to 5 feet, but missed the putt. See, Rory is so good he only needs one arm to play!
I saw on Twitter that people are blaming McIlroy’s caddie J.P. Fitzgerald for letting him hit the root shot and continuing to play. (Paging Jay Townsend!) Look, McIlroy is the one swinging the club and making the decision ultimately. The caddie can only provide his player with suggestions.
No doubt there will be many questions after the round, particularly regarding the conversation before Rory hit the root.
McIlroy managed to escape the front nine at even par — with one arm.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)