McIl­roy, re­cov­er­ing from an­kle in­jury, to be listed in PGA field

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

Rory McIl­roy posted two videos on In­sta­gram that sug­gest he might be able to re­turn for the PGA Cham­pi­onship. The world’s No. 1 player is in the field for the year’s fi­nal ma­jor next week at Whistling Straits, and he will be listed in the tee times re­leased Fri­day. That’s com­mon prac­tice for the ma­jors — play­ers are au­to­mat­i­cally en­tered — and McIl­roy does not have to de­cide whether he plays un­til his tee time at the start of the cham­pi­onship.

McIl­roy has not played since he fin­ished fourth in the U.S. Open. He rup­tured lig­a­ments in his left an­kle while play­ing soc­cer with friends in North­ern Ire­land the first week­end in July, forc­ing him to miss ti­tle de­fenses at the Bri­tish Open and this week at the Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional.

His chief spokesman, Sean O’Fla­herty, said in a text Thurs­day that re­hab was “pro­gress­ing well as the video posts sug­gest and still tak­ing it day by day.”

One In­sta­gram video showed McIl­roy bal­anc­ing on a foam pad on only his left leg — with­out a brace or other sup­port on the left an­kle — while he turns to catch and heave a weighted ball. Another posted Thurs­day showed him tak­ing a full swing with a driver on the prac­tice range. His left an­kle is taped.

“Feels good to hit the driver again!” the post said.

Graeme McDow­ell said he has been tex­ting with McIl­roy to check in on him with­out ask­ing about when he will play.

“He cer­tainly looks like he could,” McDow­ell said. “If it wasn’t such a hike around that golf course next week, I think he would be back. But I played it on Tues­day, and as far as de­mand­ing walks go, that’s right up there. It’s pot holes and side slopes. It’s a tough walk. He’s a fit kid. He’ll come back when he’s ready. Cer­tainly, golf swing looks all right.”

With­out hav­ing played for nearly two months, McIl­roy is in jeop­ardy of los­ing his No. 1 rank­ing. Mas­ters and U.S. Open cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth can re­place him with a vic­tory this week in the World Golf Cham­pi­onship.

Mean­while, the PGA Cham­pi­onship field was set at 154 play­ers, leav­ing two spots open in Wis­con­sin in case the win­ners of the Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional or the Bar­racuda Cham­pi­onship in Ne­vada on the PGA Tour were not al­ready el­i­gi­ble.

Martin Laird and Sean O’Hair were the first two al­ter­nates.

Chris Kirk has with­drawn as he re­cov­ers from a bro­ken hand, and Alex Noren of Swe­den has with­drawn be­cause of in­jury. Both also missed the Bri­tish Open. The field in­cludes 98 of the top 100 in the world, a num­ber that still hinges on of­fi­cial word from McIl­roy.

AP

In this June 18 photo, Rory McIl­roy, of North­ern Ire­land, watches his tee shot on the 10th hole dur­ing the first round of the U.S. Open golf tour­na­ment at Cham­bers Bay in Univer­sity Place, Washington.

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