(Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy effectively declared himself fit for his title defense in next week’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits when he told Golf Channel on Sunday that his rehabilitated left ankle was a “non-issue”.
The Northern Irishman, out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4, spoke after playing 18 holes of practice for a second day in a row at the venue in Kohler, Wisconsin.
After his first practice round at Whistling Straits on Saturday, where he was seen scampering up the hills on the undulating layout, McIlroy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his ankle was “good” before he headed off to the parking lot.
“Obviously, getting around a golf course like this, playing 18 holes, it felt fine,” the four-times major winner said. “I’ve come a long way in five weeks. This has been the five-week mark today from when I did it.”
McIlroy, 26, does not have to commit to the PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday, until his official tee time for the opening round.
He 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 PGA, the year’s final major.
Should McIlroy 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 in his most recent competitive start and would give the PGA Championship a huge boost.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Akron, Ohio; Editing by Larry Fine