It wasn’t all hosannas for Rory McIlroy after he won the British Open on Sunday and joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to win three of the four majors by the age of 25. As he left the 18th green after sealing the title, he appeared to brush aside an autograph-seeking youngster, who was then hauled off by authorities.
Dreadful treatment by Rory McIlroy towards an excited child seeking an autograph from his idol https://t.co/o0Jk10SUAI
— Robin Sones (@RMSones) July 20, 2014
Twitter, being Twitter, exploded with fist-shaking in McIlroy’s general direction.
Very distasteful watching Rory McIlroy pushing away a kid who wanted an autograph signed. Not good. — Simon Clancy (@SiClancy) July 20, 2014
Mr. McIlroy denying a child the two seconds it would have taken for an autograph says much about him as an individual.
— Ciaran Cannon (@ciarancannon) July 20, 2014
But Ian Poulter came to McIlroy’s defense, saying he wasn’t allowed to sign autographs at that time.
McIlroy and others had some testy interactions with fans throughout the event. McIlroy had a heckler ejected after he interrupted his backswing at the 16th hole on Sunday.
“He was giving me grief all day,” McIlroy told the Daily Mail afterwards. “I sort of put it up for the first 15 holes, and then he deliberately coughed on my downswing on the 16th tee.”
Second-place finisher Sergio Garcia also had words with a fan at the 16th hole, and Tiger Woods had a televised blow-up because of fans taking pictures with their cellphones. Unlike at many U.S. golf tournaments, fans could take their cellphones onto the course, and were seemingly encouraged to do so.