McIlroy nearly hit with tee shot at Frys.com Open

Rory McIlroy's tough Saturday at the Frys.com Open nearly got worse when Emiliano Grillo's tee shot on the par-4 17th hole came within inches of McIlroy's head. Steve Dykes/Getty Images

NAPA, Calif. -- Rory McIlroy had just chipped on the 17th green at the Silverado Resort on Saturday when a golf ball came whizzing by his head, missing him by a matter of inches.

The scary incident was a result of the par-4 hole playing at 296 yards, making it drivable during the third round of the Frys.com Open.

Emiliano Grillo, who earned his way onto the PGA Tour this season through the Web.com Tour, hit the tee shot that nearly nailed McIlroy, the result of poor communication.

Because the hole was playing short, groups were waving players up from the green. And that's what Grillo thought had occurred in this instance, although apparently McIlroy was unaware.

Of all people, McIlroy, Grillo thought.

"Yeah, that would have been bad," he joked. "Good aim. He's got a bright shirt. That's why."

But in seriousness, Grillo said he hoped to find McIlroy to apologize. "We thought they were waiting for us to it," he said. "I heard that I almost hit him, but I really apologize."

McIlroy admitted there was confusion and found no fault with Grillo. He joked about it afterward.

"Missed me by a couple of inches," he said. "Would've put me out of my misery, to be honest with you."

McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has had difficulty getting anything going this week. His 1-under-par 71 left him tied for 39th, eight strokes back of leader Brendan Steele.