Rory McIlroy calls late arrival at Wentworth a ‘spectacle’ after play stopped

By | September 15, 2023

Rory McIlroy on the 18th tee at Wentworth on Friday - Rory McIlroy calls late arrival at Wentworth a
Rory McIlroy exasperated by traffic jam on 18th tee at Wentworth West Course – PA/Zac Goodwin

Rory McIlroy birdied the last to be all but assured of advancing to the BMW PGA Championship on Friday, but then said he had survived “a shit show.”

An 80-minute delay due to fog at Wentworth in the morning saw the field rush to finish the second round and as the light faded, McIlroy, the world No. 2, was caught up in the impasse on the 18th tee.

By then there were four groups waiting on the tee, with the green mostly lit by the light of a giant scoreboard.

When his turn came, Mcllroy hit the par-five green with his second and two-putted from 45 feet for birdie to finish at the expected cut mark of one under. He will have to wait until the completion of the second round on Saturday morning to know his fate, but it seems almost guaranteed that he will play the final two rounds.

“It was a shit show,” McIlroy said after his 71st birthday. Nothing.

“It’s difficult for me to try to play well in the final and make the cut, it’s a bit of a mad rush and a race to finish. I don’t know what you could do about it, other than fewer players on the field.”

Rory McIlroy will be at Wentworth on Friday 18th - Rory McIlroy calls late arrival at Wentworth one

McIlroy’s patience tested but he fought his way to the cut – PA/Zac Goodwin

Wentworth's 18th green in near darkness on Friday - Rory McIlroy calls late arrival at Wentworth a

A screen near the 18th green has been turned to full brightness to allow players to exit – @DPWorldTour/X

It was a dramatic Friday, with reports of Thomas Bjorn, the 2018 Ryder Cup captain, involved in an argument with a drunken fan. Meanwhile, Bob MacIntyre has revealed that the growing threat of angry gamblers berating professional golfers to try to influence scores has reached the leafy environs of Surrey.

The Scot, who will make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome in two weeks’ time, was on the penultimate hole of his second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth when he was criticized by a punter who had bet against him.

MacIntyre was so worried about the spectator trying to influence his round that he asked his caddy, Greg Milne, to keep an eye on the miscreant.

“I was getting a little bit of aggression on the 17th…this guy told me how much he had at stake [the bet]’ MacIntyre said after his 69 points bested fellow players Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick by two and three shots, respectively. “I told Greg as he walked to the 18th tee ‘be excited because this guy could throw anything at us.’

“Nowadays obviously there’s golf gambling and some people make a lot of money off it – and, unfortunately, he lost today. I actually talked to someone about this a few weeks ago, it might even have been Jon [Rahm] regarding the protests on the PGA Tour.”

Robert Macintyre hits his tee shot on Wentworth's par 3 second

Scotsman Robert MacIntyre was criticized by an angry fan at Wentworth and he wasn’t the only player annoyed by the stands – PA/Zac Goodwin

There are huge concerns in the US circuit after sports betting was made legal in several US states. The PGA Tour has sought, in some respects, to profit from the resulting explosion, but players like Rahm have warned that there are obvious consequences in a sport where it is clearly so easy to discourage a competitor.

“You’re so close; you can scream at the wrong time, and it’s very easy for that to happen,” Rahm said last month at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. “I feel like we hear it every single round. It happens a lot more often than you guys might hear. I want to say, it is very, very present.

Sponsors, TV executives and Luke Donald, Europe’s captain, could have been forgiven for screaming when McIlroy made that birdie in the final for a 71. However, at one-under, McIlroy is nine behind the Swedish pacesetters Ludvig Aberg (66) and Sebastian Söderburg (64).

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