Golf

Fan tosses ‘gift’ near Rory McIlroy, then gets tossed by security

Rory McIlroy watches his chip shot from the 15th fairway during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
Rory McIlroy watches his chip shot from the 15th fairway during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

A day after Rory McIlroy's 27th birthday, a fan at the Wells Fargo Championship had a weird gift for him Thursday -- along with playing partners Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama.

A male fan watching near the No. 6 tee during Thursday's first round tossed a golf ball with an ear bud attached to it on to the tee box after McIlroy hit.

The fan claimed the ball was a gift before security removed him the grounds at Quail Hollow Club.

"Yeah, it was sort of weird. That's never really happened to me before," McIlroy said. "It was a golf ball with an ear plug stuck on it, so it was sort of strange. Charlotte's finest sorted it out and got him off the property, thankfully."

A tournament official said the fan was escorted out because he was disrupting play, but was not arrested.

McIlroy birdied the par-3 hole for the second of three consecutive birdies to help the two-time champion finish at 1 over for the day. Fowler and Matsuyama both made par after the strange development.

"I was getting ready to go up on the tee and a ball flew over from the left side,” Fowler said. “Didn't really know what it was. It looked like a golf ball, something was attached to it, later finding out it was an earplug.

"So random. The guy tried to say it was a gift. I don't know why you would give a gift of a golf ball with an earplug attached to it. So, yeah, luckily we made two 3s and Rory made a good 2 and kept playing."

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