Friday 30 September 2016

Rory McIlroy: I text Shane after he won and said it was a ballsy victory

Published 11/08/2015 | 09:10

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry
Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry

World number one Rory McIlroy has confirmed his intention to defend his PGA Championship title and also praised the "ballsy" performance of his friend Shane Lowry at the weekend.

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The Offaly man claimed victory at the Bridgestone Invitational at the weekend, showing nerves of steel to hold off the challenge of three Major winners to secure the biggest win of his career and a cheque for €1.45m.

McIlroy was watching on as he continues to recover from his injury and said he was impressed by the resolve shown by his fellow Irish golfer.

"Shane's victory was fantastic," he said. "I played 18 on Sunday morning and came back to the house we are renting to watch it.

"Once he got into the lead, he hit a couple of wonder shots- that shot on 10, which was incredible. And he holed some big par putt putts down the stretch

"I texted him last night and said it was a pretty ballsy victory. And yes, he could be in the Olympics too, depending on how everything goes the next 52 weeks."

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McIlroy has spent the past few days practising on the Wisconsin course, having been sidelined since early July when he suffered a rupture of his left ankle ligaments during a game of football with friends.

However, he has said he is now fit and ready to return.

"If anything, my ankle feels even better when I swing hard," he told the Daily Mail.

The 26-year-old's injury ruled him out of the Scottish Open and the defence of his Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational titles, but he has been playing since the Monday that Zach Johnson inherited his Open crown.

"I've played a lot of golf since then, just finding the middle of the clubface again," he said. "And I've been chipping and putting basically since it happened, with my protective boot on...

"I did think about coming back last week at the Bridgestone but Steve (McGregor, his fitness coach) held me back. He thought it important for me to basically play a tournament behind closed doors and after I completed that successfully, it felt the right time to come.

"I'm ready to play and I expect to do well."

Read more: Shane Lowry victory opens door to world of riches

The four-time major winner has been paired with Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

He has not played a competitive round since a closing 66 in the US Open at Chambers Bay on June 21.

The Northern Irishman insists that he has not rushed his return and expects to be competitive in Wisconsin.

"Obviously it's important to remain world number one, I've made that clear. It's been a year since I got it back," he said, according to irishgolfdesk.com.

"But it's just about playing well and winning tournaments and that's my main focus this week."

In his absence McIlroy has seen others such as Ireland's Shane Lowry make progress and he was quick to praise the 28-year-old for his victory in Bridgestone - even if he is now another rival.

Read more: Rory McIlroy: I'm ready for action at the PGA

"Shane's victory was fantastic," McIlroy added. "I played 18 on Sunday morning and came back to the house we are renting to watch it.

"Once he got into the lead, he hit a couple of wonder shots- that shot on 10, which was incredible. And he holed some big par putt putts down the stretch

"I texted him last night and said it was a pretty ballsy victory. And yes, he could be in the Olympics too, depending on how everything goes the next 52 weeks."

Press Association

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