Ireland’s Rory McIlroy has made a disappointing start to his title defence of The Players Championship.
The 2019 champion is the last winner of the competition as last year’s event was not held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost universally recognised as the biggest event on the PGA Tour calendar outside of the associations major championships, the Holywood man triumphed at Ponte Vedra Beach two years ago with a scintillating display that showed everyone exactly why he is a four-time major champion.
However, McIlroy is in serious threat of not making the cut at this year’s edition of The Players.
He made the worst possible start at the iconic TPC Sawgrass course, hitting a double bogey on the 10th hole. Two pars followed before a bogey on the 13th.
Disaster struck on the 18th, McIlroy’s 9th hole, as the defending champion hit a quadruple bogey after finding the water to move to seven-over par.
Birdies on the next two holes provided much needed respite but he undid all of his good work as he hit two further bogeys on the 3rd and 4th holes.
Despite another birdie on the 5th the damage may be done for McIlroy as he sits on seven-over-par after the first round. The champion has a lot of work to do tomorrow to have any chance of remaining in the field come the weekend.