Rory McIlroy Says Season Could be Over
Following the completion of the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow - a venue where he had previously been dominant - four-time major champion Rory McIlroy stated that he may be required to miss the remainder of this season as he seeks to fully recover from a rib injury that has blighted his year, leading him to only competing in 13 tournament this year.
Recording an excellent final round of 68 to finish in a tie for 22nd, the former world number one revealed the uncertainty surrounding his upcoming schedule as the lucrative playoffs of the FedEx Cup loom large. “I don't know what I'm going to do,” the 28-year-old said. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks' time. It really depends.”
His physical issues had become evident in January during the South African Open, which he lost in a playoff to England's Graeme Storm. That resulted in him missing several weeks of tournaments ahead of the Masters Tournament, where he still managed to finish in seventh. However, any consistency was not to be found after skipping the prestigious Players Championship due to a recurrence of the problem, which threatened to derail the big summer of events.
Missing the cut in the U.S, Irish and Scottish Opens, the Northern Irishman recovered from a horror start to finish in a tie for fourth in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, and fancied his chances of winning a third PGA Championship on a course that had previously delivered two victories on the PGA Tour.
However, now he is open to the prospect of ending his campaign early, forsaking the chance to secure another $10m bonus during the season finale in America, in addition to competing for the European Tour's Race to Dubai. For McIlroy, the focus is on ensuring that he is 100% ahead of 2018 and his bow for the career Grand Slam at Augusta National in April.
"I can go out there and play and shoot decent scores, but when I come off the course I feel my left rhomboid going into spasm," he explained. "The inside of my left arm goes numb. So I don't know what to do. I have got this next week off to assess what I need to go forward."
Looking at the FedEx that begins later this month, the 2016 winner added: "I feel like I'm capable of playing well enough to give myself a chance in it. At the same time, April is a long way away. That's the next big thing on my radar.
"I feel like I have a sense of, not duty, but I've missed a lot of time already. If I'm capable of playing, I feel like why shouldn't you. But then at the same time if you are not capable of playing at your best, why should you play. It's a Catch-22.
"It felt okay through the Masters and I switched it off for a couple of weeks because I was getting married, going on honeymoon. Then once I started practising again, I didn't build up the volume gradually. I went from zero to hitting balls for three or four hours a day. That aggravated it a little bit.
"I just haven't allowed it the time to fully heal. I wanted to play the season. I feel like I'm capable of playing well and winning and putting rounds together. If I want to challenge on a more consistent basis, I need to get 100 per cent healthy. I want to get back into that winner's circle."
This year has been fruitless in terms of titles, something that has happened only once (2013) since he picked up his first professional victory in Dubai in 2009. With the PGA having just been concluded, it now seems that preparations for the first major of next season have already begun for the most prolific champion of his generation.
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