CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rory McIlroy did not play as well as he envisioned when it was announced that the 2017 PGA Championship would be played at a course where he’s found loads of success in Quail Hollow. There are many reasons for that. He didn’t putt all that well (70th in strokes gained putting), and the course played differently than it had in the past.
What something of which many may not be aware is the lingering rib joint injury that McIlroy suffered earlier this year. He didn’t blame the injury for his poor play, but he’s clearly not feeling 100 percent, and that could affect his schedule for the rest of the year.
“Right now, I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm,” said McIlroy after his fourth round. “It’s sort of the way it has been the last few weeks. I have upped my practice coming into these two events because I wanted to feel like I was in a good place in my game. But, yeah, right now it’s a tough one because I go out there and play and shoot decent scores, but when I come off the course, I feel my left rhomboid going into spasm. 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. I feel like I’m capable and 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.”
April, of course, is the Masters, and McIlroy said he could be off until 2018. The pain, he noted, isn’t as bad as it was when he first injured it at the beginning of 2017 or at The Players in May when it flared up again, but he wants to be fully recovered for next season.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said McIlroy. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks time. It really depends. I’ll catch up with [trainer] Steve McGregor this week. Not tomorrow, but the middle of next week. Just sort of have a chat with him about it and see what we need to go going forward. But the more I play, it’s just not allowing that time to heal 100 percent.”
McIlroy’s 1-over 285 total at Quail Hollow Club is a disappointment for him because he’s won here twice and lost in a playoff, but the bigger issue is the future. The Masters is his white whale, and he certainly doesn’t want to have another stop-and-start season like he did in 2016-17 on the PGA Tour where he was never truly, fully healthy.
We’ll know more in a few weeks, and you know McIlroy wants to defend his FedEx Cup win, but like he noted, we might have already seen his last shot of the season.