Rest or return: What’s next for Rory McIlroy?
11 September 2017
Rory McIlroy has suggested that sitting out the rest of the season may be beneficial in a bid to get himself fully fit for the start of next season, alluding to the five-month break that tennis great Roger Federer took before returning to the sport in January and lifting the Australian Open crown.
The schedule for a professional golfer is admittedly gruelling at times, and most players feel under an obligation to both their fans and sponsors to compete in every event possible, but at the same time, the physical stress and strain put on the players means that any injury is very easily exacerbated if not properly looked after.
McIlroy suffered the initial injury in an intensive training camp back in January, and despite taking the recommended eight weeks off, the Northern Irishman played in the South African Open with his ribs strapped up – a decision which is probably now looked back on as the wrong one.
If McIlroy could have picked any venue to prevent Jordan Spieth from beating him to the career grand slam last month then you can almost guarantee that he would have picked Quail Hollow. The Northern Irishman has won twice at Quail Hollow on the PGA Tour, has finished in the top ten at the course every year between 2012-2016, and, in 2015, fired a third-round 61 to break his own course record on the way to one of the most dominant major performances in recent memory.
Despite being one of the favourites for the crown at 7/1 in the golf odds, the 2017 PGA Championship brought yet more disappointment for McIlroy in what has been a year to forget for the 28-year-old. After failing to win a tournament in 2017 and posting just one PGA victory in almost two-and-a-half years, the world number four has admitted that he can’t wait for the season to end after struggling with a reoccurring rib injury.
It’s also important to note that with Nike’s decision to pull out of the golf club manufacturing market, McIlroy is arguably still yet to land on a set of clubs which feel comfortable to him, and the importance of confidence in one’s equipment to the modern-day golfer cannot be overlooked.
On top of the injury problems that have plagued McIlroy so far this year, the golfer is clearly suffering from a crisis of confidence, and this is something which makes it almost impossible to achieve any consistency. Many of the current crop of golf courses require players to be brave off the tee in order to give themselves any chance of a birdie or better, and McIlroy is known as one of the biggest drivers on the tour, as well as one of the bravest and most able risk-takers in modern golf.
McIlroy’s admission that he’s literally counting down the days until the end of the season indicates that his mind is currently not truly 100% focused on his golf, and he must surely take an extended break and come back fully fit in order to recapture the kind of form which has seen him land four major crowns.