CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rory McIlroy finished the P.G.A. Championship on Sunday with his only strong round of the tournament and then delivered a statement that was even more alarming than his tie for 22nd place.
“You might not see me until next year,” McIlroy said after finishing one over par for the event. “You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”
He said that a rib injury, which began bothering him early this year, had flared up and that he might take an indefinite break.
“Right now, I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm,” McIlroy said after shooting a 68, his first sub-70 round of the tournament.
He added, “Inside of my left arm goes numb.”
McIlroy rested for seven weeks after the injury appeared. He returned in time for the Masters, then took off a couple of additional weeks for his wedding and a honeymoon. When he started playing again, he said, he “went from zero” to three or four hours a day of hitting balls, a transition that he said probably aggravated his injury.
The fourth-ranked player in the world, McIlroy has not won since the Tour Championship a year ago and has not had a major victory since 2014, when he captured his second P.G.A. Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. At the time, McIlroy was 25, ranked No. 1 in the world and the third-youngest player — behind only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus — to have won four majors.
McIlroy said he would take a few days to assess his options, but he was not optimistic.
“The more I play,” he said, “it’s just not allowing that time to heal 100 percent.”