Good friend JT speaks out over McIlroy’s ripped shirt

Bernie McGuire

Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

The shock image of Rory McIlroy’s ripped shirt stemming from the frustration of his DP World final round meltdown has led to his fellow major winning good friend Justin Thomas speaking out.

McIlroy let slip a third DP World victory trophy and also a third triumph this year in falling from one shot clear of the field at the start of the last day to posting a horror last day 74 to eventually share sixth place on the Earth course at Jumeirah Estates.


For someone as passionate as McIlroy who has always worn his heart on his sleeve, it was a bitter end to his four-day campaign. His frustration was no more evident when he played a perfect shot into the 15th hole only for his ball to cannon off the flagstick and spin back into a bunker for a first of three bogeys in his closing four holes.

Though it was the sight of McIlroy’s torn shirt that shocked his followers.

It was my colleague Fatiha Betscher, a fellow correspondent to Irish Golfer Magazine, who was the only written media representative with a direct view into the scorer’s hut, so naturally she could not believe her eyes with the sight of McIlroy’s torn shirt hanging off his right shoulder.

McIlroy was on his mobile phone and in clear view to those outside the hut, and they were McIlroy’s manager, his caddy Harry Diamond, a Tour media officer, Fatiha and a Japanese photographer.  There had been a small gathering of golf writers, mainly London newspaper representatives and also members of the Association of Golf Writers, who had followed Mcllroy from the back of the final green to the scorer’s hut. However, this group of writers did not follow McIlroy up the staircase that led directly to the scorer’s hut and instead walked around to the opposite side of the flash area to climb the second staircase to the raised area.

Fatiha was already located in the flash area and was quick to recognise the worth of a photograph of Rory standing there in his ripped shirt.  McIlroy then emerged from the scorer’s hut with haste, avoiding any contact with SKY TV personnel and the group of media by heading back down the stairs he’d climbed to the scorer’s hut, and then briskly entering the close-by clubhouse through a side door, thus avoiding contact with anyone at all via the dedicated main entry in use for the past two weeks for players and caddies to the clubhouse and players’ lounge.

Fatiha has had strong twitter coverage in the past in posting tweets featuring Tiger Woods but the pictures of Rory and his torn shirt have generated unprecedented interest to her @TourMiss twitter page, so much so that in the  24-hours since posting the tweet, there has been some 530,000 impressions and close to 45,000 ‘total engagements’.

Once the tweet was posted, Fatiha was soon swamped by requests from our AGW colleagues working for those London papers this past week in Dubai along with news outlets across the UK and Ireland plus there was messages pouring in from the major US golf reporting outlets such as the Golf Channel, Golf Digest, ESPN and others seeking permission to use the photograph.

Of course, the tweet has generated plenty of comments with so many offering their opinion, which is the basis of social media. Some read:

  • Beverly Barnes: That’s me !!! That’s how I feel sometimes, this game is madness…..but we always come  back for more!
  • Sham Wow: In all seriousness, if you rip your shirt off and you step in front a window, you want people to see it. He should have gone into the Locker room or something and change his shirt not make this public.
  • Bill Allen: He’s snapped a club over his knee, helicoptered another into a pond at Doral and now it seems Rory McIlroy has taken his loss in Dubai out on his shirt (photo @TourMiss). Say what you will but the dude is passionate.
  • Everyday Golfer: Wardrobe Malfunction
  • Ronnie: Nike shirts…poor quality
  • Bogey: We can all relate to Rory

Though there was one tweet from Thomas, fellow Tour player and good friend, that stood out:

“I love this. @McIlroyRory works his ass off and expects highly of himself, and is frustrated when it doesn’t go well. Never treats people with disrespect, never makes a fool of himself, just plays with fire and passion. Why he’s as successful as he is and one of my favorites.”

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