McIlroy may be even better on return: Poulter

Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:31pm EDT
 
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By Tony Jimenez

GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Ian Poulter says it is a real shame Rory McIlroy will miss next week's British Open at St Andrews but he believes his Ryder Cup team mate could return to golf better than ever after his injury layoff.

Four-times major winner McIlroy, who triumphed in the Open at Royal Liverpool 12 months ago, is unable to defend his trophy after rupturing ligaments in his left ankle while playing football with his friends last weekend.

"Rory would have wanted a run at St Andrews next week, it's a good course for him," Poulter told Reuters in an interview during the Scottish Open at Gullane.

"There is not a lot of danger down the left half of the course. He hits it right to left off the tee so he would definitely have been licking his chops (lips) at the prospect.

"It's a shame the injury has taken him out. It will be hard for him to sit at home and watch it on TV but sometimes these things happen and it makes you come back even stronger," added Poulter.

"He's sitting there as world number one right now so a guy like him, as good as he is, coming back potentially stronger, is something we're all going to have to watch out for."

McIlroy has been criticized for playing football with a major championship just around the corner but Poulter said the 26-year-old Northern Irishman had simply been unfortunate.

"You can wrap yourself up in cotton wool for the rest of your life if you want but having a little kickaround with your mates, I would have said 999 times out of 1,000 you are good," said Europe's Ryder Cup talisman.   Continued...

 
Paul McGinley (L) and Ian Poulterare pictured at the Ballantine's Golf Club Captaincy unveiling at Gullane Golf Club where Paul McGinley took over from Ian Poulter as the new Captain in this undated handout image. Ballantine's Golf Club/HANDOUT