As the old saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked freaking good at golf (or something like that.) Just ask Rory McIlroy, who touched down in Switzerland just days after his FedEx Cup triumph to smack it around the Omega European Masters and even hook up the other JT with a bunker lesson or two in his spare time. As it turned out, however, McIlroy wasn’t the only one making an entrance at Crans-sur-Sierre this week, with the 2019 tour champ forced to back off his tee shot on the par-3 8th on Thursday thanks to a pair of paragliders swooping in for an unannounced landing. Seriously, if there’s a better encapsulation of what makes the European Tour so great, we have yet to see it.
In the pantheon of thing you’d expect to interrupt your tee shot—cellphones, gators, jilted exes, the yips—paragliders are pretty far down the list, somewhere between maladjusted Shooter McGavin fans in yellow Volkswagen Beetles and sudden Nuclear winter. Even the good folks who work European Tour events on a weekly basis and should be used to this kind of thing by now were bemused.
“What are they doing here?” asked one announcer. “Don’t they know that Rory’s playing?” The answer, evidently, was no, but kudos to McIlroy for not pulling out the big stick and knocking one of these Red Bull-swigging birdmen out of the sky like some sort of real-life Duck Hunter/Golden Tee hybrid.
Despite the distraction, McIlroy still carded a three-under 67 and sits four back of the lead heading into Friday, where he hopes to hope avoid more bloggable interruptions like, say, a mountain goat attack or some patron reenacting the Sound of Music in the middle of the 10th fairway.