Four-time major champion and world No. 4 Rory McIlroy is considering shutting down his golf game, possibly for the remainder of the year.
McIlroy missed a couple months earlier this year with a rib/back injury, and he apparently is still dealing with the injury.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McIlroy said Sunday following a 3-under-par 68 to conclude his PGA Championship. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”
McIlroy entered the PGA Championship 43rd in 2017 FedExCup points, and if he does shut it down for the remainder of the year, he won’t defend his 2016 FedExCup and Tour Championship titles. The four-event playoffs begin with The Northern Trust from Aug. 24-27 in New York following this upcoming week’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.
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“I don’t know what to do,” McIlroy said. “I have got this next week off to assess what I need to go forward.”
McIlroy said Sunday that he isn’t able to practice as much as he’d like, and has issues after he plays a round of golf.
“Right now I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm. It’s sort of the way it has been the last few weeks,” McIlroy said. “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 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.”
McIlroy said he hasn’t consulted a doctor recently but expects to consult one mid-week in Northern Ireland, and a doctor’s advice could factor in his upcoming decision.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone the last couple of weeks. I just wanted to put my head where it needed to be, which was trying to focus on the golf,” McIlroy said.
He estimates he needs eight weeks of rest before beginning rehab to fully cure the problem.
“I just haven’t it allowed it the time to fully heal,” McIlroy said. “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 healthy.”
As important and lucrative as the upcoming FedExCup playoffs can be – McIlroy won about $11.4 million for winning the Tour Championship and points title last year – McIlroy’s main focus for his health is the majors and completing the career Grand Slam next April in the Masters.
“The more I play, it’s just not allowing that time to heal 100 percent,” McIlroy said. “… I have a good bit of time to get healthy and address a few things going forward. The next big thing is April and that’s really what my focus will be on from now until then.”
McIlroy’s last win, his 13th on the PGA Tour, came in the Tour Championship in September. He has gone 14 events without a win, and in addition to the injury he recently changed caddies and also changed equipment, signing a deal with TaylorMade in May with Nike getting out of the golf equipment business.
He was coming off a pair of top-five finishes in the British Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, and shot a 1-over 285 at Quail Hollow to likely finish outside the top 20.
“I feel like a sense of not duty, but I’ve missed a lot of time already,” McIlroy said. “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? So, again, it’s a Catch 22. We’ll see what happens.”