The Open 2014: Rory McIlroy overcomes hecklers to win third major
McIlroy ejected one spectator who has been heckling him for 16 holes but he did not ignore the boy on purpose
Rory Mcilroy joined an exclusive club with his Open Championship victory on Sunday, as he joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in becoming just the third man in golf history to win three majors before turning 26.
Leading from start to finish in a famous wire-to-wire victory – the first sine Woods did the same in 2006 – McIlroy clinched the title by two shots over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, but it was not all smooth sailing for the Northern Irishman.
Upon taking to the first tee for his final round, a small group of fans sang a chant about McIlroy’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. Ever the face of focus though, the former world No 1 looked straight down the fairway and gave the hecklers no notice at all, and he soon silenced them with a lovely tee-shot to begin his walk to victory.
The heckling did continue from other areas though, and it all got too much for McIlroy by the 16th hole as he identified one persistent offender to the stewards, who promptly removed the rowdy spectator.
Read more: Glory for Rory as McIlroy win Open
McIlroy 'happy I got the enough of a cushion to hold on'
Brave Garcia falls just short after challenge
McIlroy admitted that the same man had been following him throughout his round and trying to put him off at each hole, and McIlroy decided that he had suffered just about enough abuse by the time he teed off at the 16th. In a sport proudly recognised for its well-behaved and respectful patrons, the fans at Hoylake have come in for criticism this year for their apparent heckling, although it remains a small proportion of the fans that feel it necessary to try and put off the competitors.
McIlroy said after he lifted the Claret Jug: “He was giving me grief all day. I sort of put it up for the first 15 holes, and then he deliberately coughed on my downswing on the 16th tee.
“I still hit a great drive. But I heard it halfway down and I knew who it was. So I turned around and got him chucked out, thankfully.
“I don't know who it was. But I didn't have him bothering me for the last two holes, which was nice.”
He also came in for some criticism after he was seen snubbing a young fan asking for an autograph after he holed out on the 18th, but fellow competitor and Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter explained that it was due to a regulation from the R&A and not McIlroy’s choosing to ignore the youngster.
A ruling states that players must sign for their scorecards before signing any autographs for fans, meaning McIlroy would've risked a potentially title-costing penalty or disqualification by signing the autograph.
A young fan asks for McIlroy's autograph after he wins the Open McIlroy looks at the youngster as he makes his way to sign for his scorecard McIlroy walks off from the fan, who looks devastated that he was not able to get an autograph from the 2014 Open champion Poulter, who missed the cut after Friday’s second round, tweeted: “Just to clear up the signature thing. We are asked not to sign autographs until we have officially handed in our scorecards. #RulesAreRules.”
Just to clear up the signature thing. We are asked not to sign autographs until we have officially handed in our scorecards. #RulesAreRules; Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 20, 2014
Sergio Garcia was another to endure frustration with the crowd on his final round, as a mobile phone went off as he was addressing the ball, prompting him to pull out of the shot and turn his attentions to the guilty patron in frustration. Tiger Woods had also criticised the use of cameras during his opening rounds after he was put off during his swing.
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Phil Hughes: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police