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McIlroy Manages Pain; Makes Cut in PGA Championship
Despite an injured right wrist that he hurt in the opening round after striking a tree root on the third hole, Rory McIlroy carded a 3-over 73 Friday to make the cut in the 93rd PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
With his wrist heavily wrapped, the 2011 U.S. Open champion and pre-tournament favorite managed to earn a spot this weekend by a stroke at 3-over 143.
"To be honest, when I woke up this morning, it was stiff, but it wasn't as painful," the 22-year-old Northern Irishman said after his round. "As long as I hit a few shots on the rain, and it was fine, I felt as if it was okay to go out and play."
Starting on the 10th hole Friday, McIlroy bogeyed the first hole and then got two birdies before he reached the 207-yard, par-3 17th hole, where his tee shot found the pond. After a drop and one-stroke penalty, he three-putted for a triple-bogey. "It was tough to come back from that," he lamented.
On his back nine, McIlroy carded two bogeys and a birdie for his 3-over total.
McIlroy said after the second round that he was more concerned about his performance this week, not any future problems with the injured wrist. "I'm worried about it because I feel as if I can't play to the best of my abilities with it," he said. "But I'm not worried about it long term."
Despite the ailment he plans to play hard over the weekend. "I feel as if I can still make birdies out there," he said. "If I don't think I could contend, I probably wouldn't be playing, you know?"
Here's what else he told reporters after the round during a Q&A with reporters.
Q. Give us your thoughts on the day?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, it was very frustrating. I felt like I'm hitting the ball okay. You know, I gave myself a few chances but I just didn't putt very well at all. Struggling on the greens this week and sort of struggled on them a little bit last week as well. Probably do some work -- probably only thing I can do this afternoon is hit some putts. Work on that a bit and hopefully improve a little bit for tomorrow.
Q. How close were you to not playing?
RORY McILROY: This morning or yesterday?
Q. Last night or this morning.
RORY McILROY: Yesterday, on the course, there was probably a couple of points where I thought it might have been better to walk in. But I wanted to play through. I was 1-under through 12 holes, so I thought I'll just try and see it off to the end of the round. You know to be honest, when I woke up this morning, it was stiff but it wasn't as painful. Yeah, I hit a few shots on the range and it was fine, and I felt as if I was okay to go out and play.
Q. Are you worried about it?
RORY McILROY: I'm worried about it because I don't feel -- I feel as if I can't play to the best of my abilities with it. But, you know, I'm not worried about it long term. It should take a few weeks just to heal.
Q. What percentage of health do you think you were today, and looking back on yesterday, was that a mistake in judgment or a mistake in execution?
RORY McILROY: Percentage-wise, maybe, I don't know, 70, 75 percent, something like that. And yeah, looking back on it, you know, hindsight is a great thing. It was a mistake in judgment. I thought I would be able to get away with it, let go of the club at impact, and hopefully it would be okay. But it's hard to let go at the right moment; the club is coming down so fast. Just let go a little bit too late and jarred the rest with the tree root.
Q. On 17, what you saw, and what the execution was there?
RORY McILROY: Basically I was in between 6- and 7-iron, and I ended up going with the 6. And the wind was off the right so I was trying to hold it against the wind just to take a little bit of yardage off it. I felt if I flushed it, it could have gone if the back trap. So just took a bit of yardage off it but it just got up in the air on me, and the wind affected it a little more than I wanted it to. It just came up -- if it was online with the pin, it probably would have pitched on the green; but it was a few yards left and it just didn't make it over the water.
Q. Momentum stop there?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, especially after making such a good 3 on 16, you know, it was tough to come back from that.
Q. Last night at the hospital when you got the confirmation that there was no structural damage, what were your emotions?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I felt as if there was no, I didn't think for a moment that there would be any structural damage; or I hope not, anyway. Of course it was a relief just to see -- they told me a little bit of fluid, a bit of edema, it's a slight strain and you should be okay. Yeah, again, as I said, it's more uncomfortable instead of painful.
Q. Do you think it affected your touch on the greens, the feel with your putter?
RORY McILROY: I don't think so. I mean, I mean -- maybe -- my speed has been off all week, especially the last couple of days. Maybe a little bit. But to be honest I just don't feel that comfortable on these greens, and might do a bit of work this afternoon and try and figure something out.
Q. Do you think you can still contend here?
RORY McILROY: I feel as if I can still make birdies out there. You know, if I don't think I could contend, I probably wouldn't be playing, you know. So I feel as if there's a decent one out there tomorrow, a 66 or a 65, get myself back into red numbers and maybe shoot something similar on Sunday and see where that leaves me.
Q. If it wasn't a major, would you be playing; and was it a collective decision for you to keep playing or was it an individual decision?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, if it wasn't a major, I probably would -- I probably would have stopped yesterday. I mean, to be honest, looking at the scans, it was -- they said, look, you can't do any more damage to it, it's up to yourself. If you want to play and you feel as though it you can play okay and still carry on, then do. And if not, then you shouldn't play. I feel as if I can play, and so the decision was purely up to me.
Q. People on television are saying that JP should have jumped and prevented you from playing the shot; what's your view on that?
RORY McILROY: He's my caddie, not my father (shaking head). So, I mean ... (laughter).
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.