McIlroy was playing his approach to the 7th green, bending around some branches with draw, but he couldn’t control the shot and watched his ball err wide of its target in windy conditions.
His father, Gerry, who coached Rory from a young age, appeared surprised but unhurt as the ball struck his leg and bounced away.
“That was your dad you hit?” McIlroy’s caddie was overheard saying. “Yeah!” he replied.
The former world number one had at least shouted the traditional warning of “Fore” and Gerry was able to see the funny side, joking with reporters: “I should ask for an autographed glove.”
McIlroy was unable to save par on the seventh and, after carding his first birdie of the day on the par-five eighth, three-putted the next to reach the turn in three over par. And he had his head in his hands following a bogey on the 13th hole after hitting his approach into Rae’s Creek.
The 31-year-old needs to win the Masters to complete a career grand slam but has struggled for form recently and has started consulting coach Pete Cowen on a formal basis.
McIlroy’s last major title came in the 2014 US PGA Championship and he is without a win of any description since November 2019.
Additional reporting by PA
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