Rory McIlroy reacted angrily to criticism of his play yesterday at the Irish Open by telling a television commentator to “Shut up”.
Enough was enough for the US Open champion after finishing his first-round 70 with a double-bogey six and then reading on Twitter what former European Tour player Jay Townsend thought.
The American described McIlroy’s course management as “shocking” and “some of the worst I have ever seen beyond under-10’s boys golf competition”.
Playing a tournament on home soil for the first time since his runaway win in Washington in June, the world number four snapped back: “Shut up ... you’re a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!”
And when Townsend, runner-up to Sam Torrance at the 1993 Heineken Open in Spain after the final round was cancelled for snow, responded that he stood by his comments McIlroy then said: “Well I stand by my caddie”.
Youngest winner of the US Open since 1933, the 22-year-old has had JP Fitzgerald on his bag since the middle of his first full season as a professional in 2008.
“He’s been having a go at JP every now and again since then and this was the first time I’ve responded - it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Now I’ve blocked him on Twitter so I won’t be reading anything more,” McIlroy said.
Indian Jeev Milkha Singh outshone Ireland’s four major stars with a dazzling eight under par 63 to lead the tournament.
Sheffield’s Danny Willet finished one over par and Worksop’s Simon Dyson one under.