Security officials at the abrdn Scottish Open were left red-faced this morning after a spectator wandered on to the tee and took swings with Rory McIlroy’s driver.
The incident happened before the start of play this morning as the superstar grouping of McIlroy, World No 1 Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas were about to begin their second rounds at The Renaissance, near North Berwick.
The 10th tee is thirty yards from spectator areas. Fan movement is being strictly controlled as this is the first golf event in mainland UK to have spectators present since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
— Irish Golfer Magazine (@IrishGolferMag) July 9, 2021
However one man breached the security cordon and walked on to the tee unchallenged. He removed McIlroy’s driver head cover and then the club from his bag. The former Open champion, his caddie Harry Diamond and Rahm were standing directly by the bag chatting prior to teeing off.
The man managed to have two rudimentary swings with the driver before security officials moved in. They retrieved the club and its head cover and shepherded him away from the scene.
None of the players appeared affected by the incident and play proceeded on time.
The European Tour released a statement later: “At approximately 8am on Friday morning, a spectator entered the tenth tee area.
“He was quickly escorted from the tee by security personnel and the matter is now in the hands of Police Scotland.”
A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Officers were alerted to a man causing a disturbance within the grounds of the Renaissance Club in East Lothian, around 8am on Friday 9 July.
“The 35-year-old man has been taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and enquiries are ongoing.”