Tuesday 25 July 2017

Rib injury concerns force McIlroy to skip Tour's flagship event

Rory McIlroy stands on the fourth green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship at the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy stands on the fourth green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship at the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy will miss next week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth due to an on-going rib injury.

The world No 2 suffered the problem in the off-season after hitting a lot of balls in practice trying to decide on new equipment after former supplier Nike decided to stop producing clubs last year.

It flared up as he lost a play-off to Graeme Storm at the BMW SA Open in January and he did not feature again until the WGC-Mexico Championship in March where he finished four shots behind winner Dustin Johnson.

McIlroy resumed an active schedule but felt discomfort at the Players Championship and despite a scan revealing he has suffered no new injury, he will not now tee it up at the European Tour's flagship event on Thursday.

"Having had a reaction to my earlier rib injury, I have been advised to take a conservative approach to my recovery which unfortunately means I have to withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship next week," said McIlroy.

Disappointing "It's a disappointing decision to have to make but I have to ensure I make a full recovery. I will now continue the process of preparing my game for the US Open and the rest of the season."

McIlroy, 28, is a previous winner at Wentworth, with his victory in 2014 kicking off a brilliant summer that saw him claim the Open Championship, the US PGA Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

At the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily, Spain's Alvaro Quiros birdied his final four holes to add a 64 to his opening 63 and reach 15-under par, two shots ahead of overnight joint leaders Michael Hoey and Sebastian Soderberg, who both shot 61 on Thursday and 68 yesterday. Former Masters champion Mike Weir made his first halfway cut since November 2014 after a battling display.

The Canadian recovered from a triple-bogey on the 18th - his eighth hole of the day - to card a second round of 70 at Verdura Golf Club and finish right on the cut mark of five-under par.

That was 10 shots off the lead of Quiros, but simply making the weekend for the first time in 34 events represents a step in the right direction for the former world No 3.

Weir, who has slumped to 1,907th in the rankings, has struggled for form ever since undergoing elbow surgery in 2011 and announced in July 2015 that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from golf for family reasons. Hoey had six birdies and three bogeys on his card to put himself in a nice position going into the weekend.

On the US PGA Tour, world No 1 Dustin Johnson lifted himself into contention for another victory with a second consecutive 67 at the AT &T Byron Nelson yesterday.

It left him on six-under and in a tie for the clubhouse lead with Korean's Byeong Hun An and Cameron Tringale.

Waterford's Seamus Power was among the later starters last night after his opening one-under 69 on Thursday.

Rocco Forte Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 1.0pm

AT&T Byron Nelson

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Williamson leads Irish charge in wales

Rory Williamson leads the Irish charge after the first round of the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship at the Vale Resort.

The Holywood star carded a two-over 75, which included a bogey and a birdie on the front nine.

It looked like the round was slipping away from him when he hit a further two bogeys, with a double-bogey sandwiched in between on the 13th, but he pulled it back with two birdies on the 15th and 16th.

With the top 45 and ties set to advance to tomorrow's 36-hole final, Williamson is the only Irish star currently above the cut line.

William Small (Tandragee) is only one stroke back on 76, while Delgany's Marc Nolan and Ross Dutton (Tandragee) both posted four-over-par 77s. Devin Morley (Oughterard) and Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) have slim hopes of advancing beyond round two as they hit 78 and 79 respectively.

Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) will have to produce a sensational round to recover from his 81, while Matthew Fitzsimons (Ardglass) is all but out after hitting eight bogeys and a double-bogey on his way to carding an 83.

Irish Independent

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