McIlroy eases fears that his Irish Open participation may be in doubt

Mark McGowan

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy’s hopes of a fourth FedExCup title look all but gone after a one-over 71 on Saturday saw him fall 11 strokes behind runaway leader Viktor Hovland, but the world number two admitted that, despite posting his worst score of the week on moving day, the back issue he’s been battling all week has continued to improve.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” he told Sky Sports’ Henni Zuël after another energy-sapping day in the heat and humidity of Atlanta. “I feel better today than I felt the rest of the week. Still a little limited in what I can do, sort of have to hit the driver pretty low out there and run it, but I felt I could extend my posture a little better today, which was great. The score didn’t reflect it but yeah, feeling better which is a good sign.”

When news broke that the defending FedExCup champion was gingerly hitting warm-up shots and appeared to be in a lot of pain and discomfort on Thursday, fears immediately arose that the star attraction of the Horizon Irish Open may be forced to withdraw from the event which was due to begin in a fortnight’s time, but his continued improvement bodes well for all Irish golf fans.


“Yeah, there’s still quite a lot of golf to play,” he said when asked of the Irish Open, followed by the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and then the Ryder Cup at the end of September. “Get through tomorrow and hopefully finish off the tournament and the PGA Tour season with a good score and then, I guess next week will just be focused on getting myself right, some treatment, probably some time in the gym doing some rehab exercises and just making sure that I’m 100% ready to go for Irish Open, then Wentworth, and then obviously we’ve got another week and then the Ryder Cup.

“I’m not too concerned that it’s going to give me any bother over the next few weeks. I’m glad that it’s started to settle down, so it’s a shame that it happened this week and I haven’t really been able to get the best out of myself but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to be in a good spot for the next few weeks in Europe.”

Despite the obvious frustration of not being able to give it his best shot at East Lake – a course that he’s had considerable success at in the past – and his continued progress with the muscular spasm that had threatened to derail the entire week, he admitted that he’s still taking a cautious approach on the course with an eye on the Irish Open and the Ryder Cup beyond.

“I’m obviously not going to rush it,” he said. “You know, even today there were a couple of points where I felt like just teeing the driver up a little higher and trying to launch a couple but I’m just sort of taking it easy. But yeah, hopefully by the end of next week and by weekend going into the [week of the] Irish Open I’ll be back to feeling 100 percent again.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.