Rory McIlroy’s coach almost cost him valuable strokes in his first round as a professional at the Open Championship.
The 20-year-old from Holywood was two-under through seven holes when he pulled his tee shot into the thick rough on the par-four eighth at Turnberry - right in front of long-time teacher Michael Bannon.
Despite the efforts of his vast following support McIlroy would have had to declare the ball lost until Bannon stood up and found the ball underneath him.
“He knew where it was, so he went down and he was searching for it and searching for it, and he stood up and he was right on top of it,” said Rory.
“So if he didn't stand up, I would have made an eight or a nine or something.
McIlroy bounced back with three birdies to finish with a one-under 69, five off the lead.
Open Golf: Pages 68-71\[Ian Callender\]”There was a bit of good, a bit of bad and a bit of ugly,” he admitted.
“I thought I played very solidly. I had eight threes on my scorecard, which is good around here, good around any golf course.
“And I hit the ball a lot better today than I have been the last week or so.
“I've only missed a few fairways, and the couple of fairways that I did miss cost me a double bogey and a bogey.
“So if you're just slightly off your game, you can make a couple of big numbers, but then if you're on your game you can make this course look very easy today, which some people did.”