By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Rory McIlroy had a forgettable start to the British Open, and an embarrassing one considering this year’s tournament is in his native Northern Ireland. But his performance at the 18th hole on Thursday was arguably worse.

McIlroy was tied for 150th on the leaderboard with an 8-over 79 when he finished the first round of the 148th Open Championship, which takes place this weekend at the Dunluce Links course at Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Much of the blame for his incredibly poor round can be attributed to the very first hole, a par-4 where he shot a quadruple bogey.

But perhaps worse was the way McIlroy finished the round, haphazardly slapping the ball around on the 18th green as he three-putted his way to a triple bogey that ended his round. Was he suddenly possessed by every Joe Schmo in America when his frustration boiled over at that moment? Was he aware that each of his strokes counted against his score?

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts on the 18th hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND – JULY 18: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts on the 18th hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

There’s ultimately no excuse to lazily let your bogey become a triple like that when it was easily avoidable. Golf is, of course, as much a mental game as anything else. It requires supreme focus. Anyone who’s smacked their ball into the woods, used a mulligan, then launched it into the sand, then four-putted at their local links would understand McIlroy’s frustration.

But most golf players are, of course, not professionals. McIlroy didn’t look like one on the final hole Thursday and it may have killed his chances of climbing back into the Open. It looked more like his scorecard didn’t matter. It felt more like he gave up.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.