Groan! I know, I know. My apologies for the cheesy headline, but I just couldn’t help myself.
Despite a batty decision to hit a hero shot with his ball against a tree root on No. 3, Rory McIlroy fought through the pain and showed his resolve to finish with basically one good arm. The US Open champ shot a rather impressive even par 70 at Atlanta Athletic Club, given the circumstances — he’s T23 through one round of the PGA Championship.
It was a risky shot, but when you’re 22, you don’t think of the consequences, especially if you’re a competitor.
Before he was whisked off to a clinic for an MRI, we (the media mob) were allowed to ask him five questions (but slipped in a sixth!). Here are the quotes:
*On his thinking on the shot where he injured himself: “It was dangerous. I think the tree was maybe a foot in front of the ball and I thought if I could make contact with the ball and just let the club go, I might get away with it, and in hindsight it would have been better to chip out sideways. I still made five.
“It was a shot that I felt like, if I took it on and pulled it off, it could have saved me a shot. But I went through impact and held onto the club too long and jarred my right wrist and my right forearm. It was very painful after that.”
*On how much pain and discomfort he felt: “Just through that shot, it was just like a sharp pain up in the forearm and then there’s a little bit of swelling, just on the inside of my wrist. And then it was going up into my elbow and my shoulder. So just going to go and get an MRI now and just see if there’s no damage to it.”
*On whether he was concerned he was going to injure himself more: “They said it’s your decision; if you want to play on and you feel comfortable doing that, but if not, there’s no point in risking it. It’s the last major of the year. I’ve got what, six or seven months to the Masters. So I might as well try and play through the pain and get it over and done with.”
*On posting a 70 considering the circumstances: “To be honest, that I finished with one hand, I hit some good shots. The only thing that let me down, I missed a couple of short putts. But it was always there in my mind. So to shoot even par, it was a good effort.”
*On how difficult it will be to continue playing tomorrow: “If it’s the same tomorrow and I know that I’m not going to do any more damage to it, I’ll play. There’s a couple of points where I thought about not continuing. But as I said, it’s a very important tournament and I’m still even par. I’m still in the hunt. So we’ll see what the results are tonight, and if I can strap it up and play again tomorrow, I will.”
*On how bad the pain is right now: “Right now it’s okay. It’s just swollen a little bit in the area. It’s basically when I go through impact and try — and my right arm, they reckon I’ve just caught the nerve in between the two bones, and every time I went through a shot, I was in a lot of pain, but right now it’s okay. It’s just going through impact, it hurts a little bit.”
After rolling in his three-footer for par on 18, McIlroy shook hands with Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel and their caddies using his left, instead of the injured right one.
World No. 1 Luke Donald tweeted earlier: “Just walked by TV saw Rory hurt his wrist, made me feel sick #badmemories #fingerscrossed”
Donald, who suffered a potentially career-ending wrist injury in 2008, can empathize.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for ISM, McIlroy’s management company said in a statement this evening: “The initial diagnosis shows that Rory has a strained tendon in his right wrist. He will obviously rest it tonight and he will see how it feels in the morning on the range.”
Rory is scheduled to tee off at 8:35 a.m. on Friday on the 10th hole. As long as he doesn’t risk worsening the injury, I’m betting he’ll keep playing. After all, it’s Glory’s Last Shot (not Rory’s).
Thanks to those who followed along the WSJ live-blog for all 12 hours today. Same time, same place tomorrow.
(AP Photos/Mel Evans, David J. Phillip)