McIlroy, recovering from ankle injury, listed in PGA field
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — 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Chris Kirk has withdrawn as he recovers from a broken hand, and Alex Noren of Sweden has withdrawn because of injury.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.