• The Open

McIlroy pleased with first-round recovery

ESPN staff
July 20, 2012

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What They Said

Rory McIlroy believes the manner in which he responded to a disastrous 15th hole will stand him in good stead after the first round of The Open.

McIlroy, sitting on three-under after 14 holes, struck a young fan on the head with his wayward tee-shot, which was eventually ruled to have flown out of bounds. The Northern Irishman settled for a double-bogey six on that hole, but responded superbly to birdie the 16th and 18th to finish three strokes behind leader Adam Scott.

"I liked how I reacted out there," said McIlroy. "I did well to keep my composure and keep my concentration and finish the way I did. I'm very pleased with that.

"I was a little shocked when I was told the ball went out of bounds. I didn't realise it was out of bounds over there, and it was only by a couple of inches, but what can you do? It's just one of those things.

"The most important thing was that [the fan] was OK, because I would have felt terrible if it had been worse than what it was. I said sorry, but there's not much else you can say.

"Standing on the 16th tee, my goal was to get back to three-under for the day. And I was able to do that. That birdie on 18 will make dinner taste very nice tonight. I'm happy with my score. It's a great position heading into the second day."

The spectator required medical attention, and left the course bloodied and bandaged, but a contrite McIlroy joked the youngster could have helped make his round a little more impressive.

"He could have headed it the other way, it would have been in the fairway," McIlroy joked. "I gave him a glove with a sad face and my autograph. I've done that a few times before, it's not the first time."

Meanwhile, McIlroy insists officials must hasten the speed of play, particularly at majors, in order to generate excitement amongst the fans.

"This is an issue that has to be addressed because the fans don't want to sit and watch TV and guys not hitting shots and standing over their balls. You want to see it flow," he said.

"It's definitely something we need to address because I don't think a round of golf should take over five hours. It would be great if we could speed it up a bit."

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