LONDON: Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy was left bemused on Friday after a fan walked onto the 10th tee and took a club from his bag at the Scottish Open.
Waiting to start his second round alongside US Open champion Jon Rahm and American Justin Thomas, McIlroy watched on as the spectator removed a distinctive dog headcover from his driver and then swiped an iron to start practising swings.
“I was surprised. Everyone saw what happened on TV,” said world number 11 McIlroy. “It was handled efficiently and everything was OK. I had no idea who it was.”
Rahm said it was possible to smell alcohol on the spectator's breath as he was escorted off the course.
“He came in so confident and we thought he was going to take a picture or something. We thought he was maybe part of the camera crew or a photographer," said the Spaniard.
“After a little bit, when he walked back and they were taking him out you could smell the reason why it happened. Me and Rory didn't say anything. He was holding a six iron and I didn't want to get hurt.”
The man was eventually removed from the tee area by security personnel after handing the club back to McIlroy's caddie Harry Diamond.
He wanted to keep hold of the head cover but was forced to give it back to the four-time Major champion before being ejected from the course by police.
A spokesperson for the European Tour said: "At approximately 8am on Friday morning, a spectator entered the 10th tee area.
“He was quickly escorted from the tee by security personnel and the matter is now in the hands of Police Scotland.”
A Police statement said the man had been taken to hospital and that "enquiries are ongoing.”
McIlroy is set to miss the cut after he went onto shoot a level-par round of 71 to sit one under for the tournament.
* With Agencies