After carding an 8-over 79 in Round 1 at Royal Portrush, a disappointed Rory McIlroy dismissed the idea that he wanted to win the Open Championship too much in the tournament's first trip back to his native country since 1951.
"I don't think that was it," McIlroy said when asked if he put too much pressure on himself. "If anything, I think people wanted it more for me than I did. I mean, I obviously wanted (it) and I wanted to play well."
For whatever reason, nerves were apparent from the start, as the Northern Irishman hooked his opening tee shot out of bounds with a long iron and eventually made a quadruple-bogey on the hole.
"It was almost as if that first tee shot settled me down a little bit," he added. It's like 'Well, (you) can't really start much worse than this, so we may as well put the head down and keep going.'"
Indeed, McIlroy initially managed to steady himself, even with the addition of another bogey to his card. He made the turn at 3-over, but then things unraveled even further when he ended his disastrous round with a triple-bogey at No. 18.
"Whenever you play your first and last holes in a combined 7-over it's going to be a pretty tough day," he said
The 2014 Open champion now finds himself 15 shots behind the clubhouse leader, Shane Lowry, and will likely need a perfect second round just to stick around for the weekend.