Did Open Championship patron pick up Rory McIlroy’s lost ball? (vid)
Video has surfaced that appears to implicate a patron at The Open Championship on Sunday in making away with a Rory McIlroy lost ball. And by doing so, if the ball in question was in fact McIlroy’s, it may have cost the superstar a whopping $203,000 in winnings.
The incident played out following a wayward tee shot from McIlroy on Royal Birkdale’s 15th hole. After being unable to locate the ball — which may have been a fruitless endeavor in the first place — McIlroy was penalized two strokes, finished with a bogey-6 on the hole and ultimately finished the tournament at 5-under.
McIlroy pocketed $477,000 in prize money after finishing tied for fourth behind tourney winner Jordan Spieth. But McIlroy stood to earn an additional $203,000 had the penalty not been assessed (assuming McIlroy finished the round in the same manner).
Footage obtained by The Sun shows the patron in question picking up a ball in the same vicinity of McIlroy’s wayward tee shot amid the scrum and confusion. The footage, taken by a fan who noticed McIlroy approaching, begins shortly after the shot in question.
A man, who apparently managed to slip away amid the confusion, can be spotted slipping a ball into his pocket amid the search.
Via The Sun report (by way of the New York Post):
The man filming can be heard whispering to a pal: “That fella just found the golf ball!” He giggles as he adds: “He’s not told him! Terrible!”
“There was great excitement because Rory was getting into gear and a magical comeback charge for title glory was on,” a fan who saw the incident said. “The mystery man’s actions have changed the course of sporting history.”
While changing the “course of sporting history” may be a bit of stretch, especially in light of Spieth’s phenomenal performance down the stretch. Although who knows what would have happened in the final holes had McIlroy not had to take the penalty.
That said, the incident most certainly had a financial impact upon McIlroy, if the ball in fact was indeed McIlroy’s to begin with.