All the major championships this year seem to be very eventful for Rory McIlroy from the Master where he had a spectacular collapse, the United States Open where he had an eight-stroke victory and the British Open last month where the wobbled out of contention.
Nothing could however top the medical drama involving McIlroy less than three holes into this season’s PGA Championship.
McIlroy tried imprudently to hit his ball even if it was near an exposed tree root in the wood which would most likely be hit too with his downswing. He did it anyway and ended up with a violent collision that bended his 7-iron’s club head.
He immediately squeezed his hand and shook his right wrist and moved on to 15 holes of one-armed swings and several efforts to make it easy on his bum limb making the Atlanta Athletic Club golf course look like the set of ER.
The whole time, McIlroy popped inflammatory tablets, winced a lot, massaged his hand, iced and taped, and then taped it again. At first it looked like he was going to withdraw only to be revived when he would go to the next tee and greeted by medical personnel.
With a dazed look, he walked off with an even-par 70 at the 18th hole, making him still a contender for his second major title this year.
“I was in a lot of pain but this is the last major of the year and I’ve got six or seven months to get ready for the Masters,” McIlroy said. “I figured I might as well play through the pain.”
McIlroy left the course minutes after completing his round to get a magnetic resonance imaging exam of his arm and wrist, which he said was throbbing. The initial diagnosis was a strained tendon. He will be evaluated before his 8:35 a.m. start time Friday to see if he can play.
“If it feels the same as today, I’ll strap it up and give it a go,” McIlroy said, before the tests results came back.
The 22-year old Irish admitted that was a dangerous shot and said “I thought I could save a shot and in hindsight I should have chipped out.”
However, the incident only raised the issue of whether his caddie J.P Fitzgerald is capable of giving him seasoned advice, considering that his course management counsel was already criticized during the irregular play of McIlroy at the British Open and the Master.
McIlroy would not have been exposed to a serious wrist injury had he taken a gentle swing with a wedge to send the ball back into the fairway.
McIlroy, who had an expression of resignation at the fifth hole, met with a PGA Tour medical team member Jeff Hendra who said the injury would not get worse even if McIlroy continued to play. He continued to play but with more tape before the ninth hole and on the 10tth tee.