Only one member of golf’s so-called “Big Four” has had much of a year, no? Jordan Spieth won the British Open and has done pretty well for himself. Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy? Not so much. And none of the aforementioned were real factors at the PGA Championship.
Day has played most of this year under the cloud of his mother’s illness. Johnson was never right after a back injury ahead of the Masters derailed his promising start to the season. And Rory McIlroy, as we’re finding out, is still plagued by a rib injury he suffered last winter that’s causing him more trouble than a mere pain in the affected area.
Rory never challenged for the lead at Quail Hollow, finishing at a distant 1-over, just outside the top 20. And while he finished inside the top 10 at the Masters and the British Open, McIlroy never really made a serious run at victory in a major this year. Indeed, McIlroy now hasn’t won a major championship in three years, and all sorts of unpleasant questions on that front are beginning to queue up for the three-time major champion.
But hey, at least he hit this shot at Quail Hollow…
Highlight of the day so far: @McIlroyRory
"You've got to be kidding me!" pic.twitter.com/YV4opopHmK
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 11, 2017
Anyway, in a somewhat shocking announcement McIlroy said he is thinking about shutting it down for the rest of the season, confessing he’s still plagued by the rib injury that has sidelined him twice this season.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.
“You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”
What it depends on, it seems, is whatever it takes to stop his back from spasming and his arm from going numb, according to the golfer. Not pleasant stuff, and certainly not conducive to playing good golf.
He also revealed that returning to a full practice load after his post-Masters marriage may have been a mistake. It certainly doesn’t sound like the Ulsterman has been close to 100 percent this season.
“It felt okay through the Masters and I switched it off for a couple of weeks because I was getting married, going on the 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.”
McIlroy indicated he wants to play the FedExCup, but the subtext to his remarks is that he thinks rest is what he needs, but isn’t sure if some form of treatment will get him back to golf quicker, hence the “considering options” talk.
“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 percent healthy. I want to get back into that winner’s circle.”
Protracer + Trackman + @McIlroyRory = ???
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 10, 2017
What a frustrating stop-start campaign for the golfer. While he’s shown flashes of his top form, he’s never really been Rory McIlroy in 2017. Much like Tiger Woods, fans have to hope he takes the time to come back at 100 percent. For as much of a pleasure as it is to watch Rory McIlroy at his best, watching the sub-standard play from an ailing superstar isn’t good for said golfer, the fans, or the game, really.
Besides, we have the likes of Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Rickie Fowler to entertain us in the meantime.