McIlroy prepares for PGA at Whistling Straits

Sat Aug 8, 2015 6:18pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy arrived at Whistling Straits for 18 holes of practice on Saturday as he bids to return to competitive golf from an ankle injury and defend his PGA Championship title at the links-style venue next week.

Reuters exclusively reported on Monday that the four-times major champion had scheduled a practice round at the site for Saturday, a report that proved accurate despite being denied by the golfer's publicist.

The Northern Irishman, out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his left ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4, does not have to commit to the tournament, which starts on Thursday, until his official tee time for the opening round.

World number one McIlroy has been grouped with Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth and British Open winner Zach Johnson for the first two rounds of the year's final major at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

"Great 18 holes this morning with haza136 @ Whistling Straits Golf Club," McIlroy tweeted, referring to his good friend and playing partner Harry Diamond.

According to Golf Channel, McIlroy said after his round that he has now played 90 holes of golf since recovering from his ankle injury.

Should he tee off as expected on Thursday, it would be just 40 days since he suffered an injury that some medical experts said might take about three months to heal.

It also would be more than seven weeks since McIlroy tied for ninth in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and would give the PGA Championship a huge boost as he and Spieth share top billing.

The 26-year-old Northern Irishman withdrew from the July 9-12 Scottish Open after suffering the ankle injury and was unable to defend his British Open title the following week at St. Andrews.   Continued...

Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 15th tee in the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports