A quadruple-bogey 8 at the first hole might not have been the most embarrassing part of Rory McIlroy’s wild opening round at the British Open.
Three-putting from 4 feet for a double at the par-3 16th also left the Northern Irishman shaking his head, and another double at No. 18 saw him stumble home for an 8-over 79. It tied his worst first round at the British Open.
McIlroy was 12 strokes off the lead, his major drought almost certainly extending to a sixth year.
He says heightened expectations played no part in his score that has already ended any realistic chances of winning the British Open.
McIlroy says he was nervous on the first tee, where he went out of bounds, but not because he was playing a major in his home country for the first time.
He says missing a tap-in at the 16th was "inexcusable."
McIlroy says "I’m pretty sure anyone starting with a 79 in this golf tournament doesn’t think about winning at this point."
Tiger Woods got up and down from a greenside bunker to make par on his opening hole as rain returned to Royal Portrush.
Shane Lowry remained in sole possession of the clubhouse lead at 4 under.
Jordan Spieth was only a shot behind making three birdies in his first five holes.