McIlroy feels back pain, not sure when he will play again

Aaron Brown
August 14, 2017

It's tough to get close-to-the-pin positions.

"Right now I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm", McIlroy said after closing with a 3-under 68 at Quail Hollow.

And speaking on Sunday, the 28-year-old expanded on his dilemma about playing again this season or trying to win the FedEx Cup - and USD10million bonus - for the second year running.

The combined holes have played an average of 0.916 strokes above par, with the No. 2 finishing stretch being the Memorial Tournament's Muirfield Village, which has played 0.598 above par.

Forced to go back to the drop zone, he hit a 109-yard approach to 13 feet but two putted for a six to slip back to one over par for the Championship. "I don't necessarily know that's the officials' fault".

"If you had given me one over par standing on the first tee yesterday morning I probably would have taken it going into the weekend".

Along with failing to win a major for the third straight year, McIlroy hasn't won anywhere around the world since he won the Tour Championship last September to capture the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.

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He won the Barracuda Championship last week in Reno, Nevada - his first tournament win in his 11 years on the tour. "I have got this next week off to assess what I need to go forward", he said, adding that he would consult with his trainer, Steve McGregor, who is a doctor, and consider his options.

McIlroy has headed home to Northern Ireland and planned to meet with his trainer to figure out the next step.

He birdied the fourth to turn in one under par, then converted from eight feet for birdie at the 10th, made a 20 footer at the 11th, saved par from 14 feet at the 12th, knocked in a seven footer for birdie at the driveable 14th and chipped dead to set up a tap in birdie at the par-five 15th to get two under. I wanted to play the season and I feel like I'm capable of playing well and winning and putting rounds together. That should have got me better scores, because if you miss the green it is hard to chip at times. I warm it up, it's okay.

McIlroy's "Catch-22" is the fact he believes he can play in tournaments, but his practice time has to be limited. But it's there and I can play 18 holes, but once I get 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. April is a long way away. "If something like that happens, I think I can handle it a little better". "If I want to challenge on a more consistent basis, but I need to get 100 percent healthy".

Asked if he saw a "low one" out there, he said: "Yeah, but I guess a low round used to be a 61 or a 62".

McIlroy has already taken time off due to rib issues twice this year and explained Sunday that he's recently been feeling discomfort in his left rhomboid (a skeletal muscle that is found on each side of the upper back).

"I just haven't it allowed it the time to fully heal".

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