Spectators attend Tour events at their own risk. More and more lately, it appears as if fans are willing to risk life and limb in order to get a good view of the best players in the world, perhaps figuring the reward of a golf-ball sized bruise and a signed glove was worth the pain.
Every week on Tour, we see fans create these human tunnels that players are expected to hit through at every event that gets played and on Saturday at the BMW PGA Championship one unlucky fan got in the way of a bullet off of the club of Rory McIlroy.
Struggling at the start of his third round, McIlroy had already dropped a shot on his round and was doomed to drop another one on the par-4 6th after hitting his drive into some foliage off to the right of the hole. With a swing that was getting caught in the branches, McIlroy’s punch out went right and into a group of fans, striking a young woman.
McIlroy would go on to make double bogey on the hole and fall to 3-over par on his round.
On the last hole of his round, McIlroy again struck a spectator, this time in the head, which redirected his ball back into play allowing him to lay up and cap off his round with a second consecutive birdie.
@BMWPGA @BMW_UK @PhilAkersGolf @cascreview
Rory and Rory’s wife apologising to lady hit on the head on the 18 th hole today 26 th May whilst Dr Seshni Moodliar (our mum) and paramedics tends to her pic.twitter.com/q1BUQhzNMY
— Rensburg golf (@cascreview) May 26, 2018
“I hit a girl on the sixth hole,” McIlroy said after the round when asked about how hitting spectators affects him. “I don’t think I quite broke her hand but gave her a good mark, and then split someone’s head open on 18, which, yeah, look, they saved me, as well. Those balls were going deep into the trees or out-of-bounds if they had not hit someone.
“I got very fortunate today. I just hope those people are okay. I went over to say sorry to them. There’s not much more I can do. Hopefully, the medics did a good job and they are okay to come out and cheer us on tomorrow.”
When @rorymcilroy needed his short game, he found it…
Up and down x2 ⤴⤵ pic.twitter.com/0pjNVzukZP
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 27, 2018
Despite the harrowing shots, McIlroy was able to recover and shoot a 1-under par round. He enters Sunday’s final round tied with Francesco Molinari at 13-under par.