Still the defending Players champion, Rory McIlroy’s title defense got off to an ignominious start with a double bogey at the par-4 10th.
The 2019 champ, who didn’t get a chance to defend last year because the event was canceled after the first round in response to COVID-19 concerns, didn’t make a birdie over his opening nine holes. In addition to the double, he added a bogey at the par-3 13th and a quadruple-bogey 8 at the par-4 18th.
McIlroy hit both his tee shot and his third shot – with an iron – into the water guarding the left side of No. 18.
It added up to an opening, 7-over-par 43 for McIlroy.
After making the turn, McIlroy recorded his first birdie of the day at the par-4 first.