LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – Phil Mickelson has been known to bonk fans on the head from time to time with wayward drives. As an apology he’s signed gloves, gave money and even once handed a fan his own personal watch. Friday, he hit a fan and gave him a ball.
Rory McIlroy gave a kid a place to stay for the week.
McIlroy’s wayward drive on the par-4 15th hole Thursday during the first round of the British Open was well publicized. He hit 16-year-old Jason Blue on the head and the ball ricocheted out of bounds. McIlroy signed a glove for Blue, ultimately made double bogey on the hole and still managed to shoot 67 and stay in the hunt.
Later Thursday evening, The Sun (Scotland’s largest newspaper) put McIlroy’s representatives in touch with Blue, who was camping with a friend at a nearby park. Team McIlroy told Blue to pack his gear and made arrangements to put him in a hotel for the remainder of the week.
“After what happened, Rory didn’t want him in a tent, he wanted him somewhere comfortable where someone could keep an eye on him,” McIlroy’s manager, Conor Ridge, told The Sun. “He’s put him up in a hotel and given him a bit of pocket money for dinner with his pal.”
Said McIlroy Thursday after the incident: “The most important thing was that he was OK, because I would have felt terrible if it had been worse than it was.”