McIlroy expects to play well on PGA return

Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:58pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Forty days after suffering an ankle injury, Rory McIlroy will launch his title defense in this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits fully expecting to play well.

Though the Northern Irish world number one has not competed since he tied for ninth in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in June, he pronounced himself ready after giving himself a fitness test over four days in Portugal last week.

"Expectation levels are the same," McIlroy told a packed interview room in the media center at Whistling Straits on Wednesday on the eve of the year's final major. "I have played quite a number of rounds of golf.

"I've been practising for over three weeks getting my game ready, getting my game sharp. I feel like I'm playing well. Hitting it well on the range ... it's being able to take it from there into tournament play with a card in your hand.

"I expect to play well. I don't see any reason why I can't bring the sort of form that I've shown in practice rounds and on the range to the tee on Thursday afternoon."

McIlroy, who won last year's PGA Championship by one shot after a final-round shootout that finished in near darkness, has been out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer with friends on July 4.

"I thought I broke it, because as soon as I went over on it I heard like a snap," the 26-year-old McIlroy recounted. "Obviously that was the ligament that snapped.

"Thirty seconds later, it got the size of a tennis ball, basically because all the fluid came out of the (torn) joint capsule. When I got the scan that night, it showed that I totally ruptured one ligament and had a grade two in the other.   Continued...

Aug 11, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 8th hole during a practice round for the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits -The Straits Course.  Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports -