The 2021 Masters returned to its normal April dates after the 2020 version was played in November, and with the return to springtime in Augusta brought the azaleas in full bloom, a firmer and faster (and harder) golf course, and a smattering of patrons back on the course. With just 5,000 folks in attendance, it wasn’t the typical masses of galleries we’re accustomed to seeing at Augusta National, and it also meant that there was a much better chance that someone in the gallery following a player was a friend or family member.
Rory McIlroy did not have his A-game on Thursday, as he sprayed it around the course, unable to get himself on track as he got as high as 4-over on the day. Among the holes in which he had issues with the most was the 7th hole, when he launched a tee shot well left of the fairway. Trying to hit a big hook back to the green, McIlroy hung his approach shot straight and struck a patron in the leg. However, this wasn’t just any patron, but his father, which drew a chuckle from Rory as he realized what he’d done.
A moment Rory McIlroy will always remember: hitting his dad on the leg with a golf ball at the Masters. 😂 pic.twitter.com/ttUxmMiVvy
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 8, 2021
In fairness, Rory did let out a hearty “FORE RIGHT” while the ball was in the air, but his dad was unable to spot the ball and dodge it. The father of the former No. 1 in the world likewise had a funny reaction to getting hit by a shot from his son, walking off the pain of taking a golf ball to the leg and joking he should’ve requested an autographed glove from Rory — the customary PGA player apology for hitting a fan.
Was standing on No. 7 when Rory flared one out to the right and hit his dad in the leg. As he limped away, laughing, he looked over at us and said, "I should ask for an autographed glove."
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 8, 2021
Happily, the elder McIlroy was not injured seriously by his son’s wayward tee shot, and they will surely have a quite the conversation in the car ride home from the course after his round finishes.