McIlroy's FedExCup Playoffs status unclear due to injury concerns
August 13, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy carded a 3-under 68 in the final round of the PGA Championship. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy, unsure of his playing schedule due to back spasms and numbness in his left arm, raised the possibility Sunday he may not be able to defend his FedExCup title.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McIlroy said. “You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”
After finishing his final-round 3-under 68 that left him in the top 25 at the PGA Championship, McIlroy complained of spasms in his left rhomboid and also said the inside of his left arm was numb. He had immediate plans to fly back to Northern Ireland and will meet with his fitness coach, Steve McGregor, next week to assess his options.
“Just sort of have a chat with him about it and see what we need to do going forward,” McIlroy said. “But the more I play, it’s just not allowing that time to heal 100 percent.”
The FedExCup Playoffs begin Aug. 24 at THE NORTHERN TRUST, followed by the Dell Technologies Championship. McIlroy will be the defending champ at TPC Boston, and also at the TOUR Championship that will decide the new FedExCup champion.
McIlroy suffered a rib injury in January and sat out an extended period. He returned to the PGA TOUR in March and posted three top-10 finishes in his first four starts, including a tie for seventh at the Masters. He then took time off to get married but felt the pain return in his next start in May at THE PLAYERS Championship and finished tied for 35th.
He said once he returned from his honeymoon, he went full-blast in practice instead of easing his way back.
“I didn’t build up the volume gradually,” McIlroy said. “I went from zero to hitting balls from 3-4 hours a day. That aggravated it a little bit.
“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.”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. It’s a Catch-22.
McIlroy returned to action in June at the U.S. Open but missed the cut. He tied for 17th at the Travelers Championship, then missed the cut in his next two starts before The Open Championship. At Royal Birkdale, he played well and tied for fourth.
At last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, he tied for fifth and seemed to have building momentum coming into Quail Hollow, a course on which he’s won two TOUR events. But he opened with a pair of 1-over 72s on the redesigned layout and was never in the mix.
He said the pain he’s currently experiencing is not as bad as what he suffered in May. Once he warms up, he can play 18 holes with little to no issues, allowing him to compete like he did at Royal Birkdale or Firestone. But the spasms and numbness appear post-round, and that’s cause for concern.
“Once I get it done, having to go through the whole routine of getting it ready to go again the next day, you shouldn’t have to do that,” McIlroy said. “If I was injury-free, that wouldn’t happen.”
If he’s healthy, McIlroy would like to defend his FedExCup title, and attempt to become the first player to win it in back-to-back seasons. He entered this week ranked 43rd in FedExCup points and is projected to move up a couple of spots. Theoretically, he could sit out the first two Playoffs events and still be eligible to advance to the 70-man BMW field.
But he also said he may take an extended time off to make sure he’s healthy going into next year. McIlroy has not won a major since 2014.
“Everything is up in the air because I don’t know when I’m going to play next, where I’m going to play next,” he said. “I wish I had more to tell you guys. …
“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. It’s a Catch-22.”