by Jeff Skinner
It was an amazing day at The Atlanta Athletic Club as The PGA Championship gave us about as exciting a first round that there can be. Tiger teased early and Stricker flirted with history but it was a shot by Rory McIlroy that kept us glued to the screen as the young Irishman toughed it out to a one handed round of even par.
As youngsters do sometimes, McIroy went for the potentially dangerous shot when is ball landed up against a tree root left of the third fairway. He thought he could strike the ball and then drop the club mid-swing as to avoid any impact that his club had with the root. That’s a tough thing to do when your club is moving at 90 mph.
Rory couldn’t execute his plan and he felt a stinging pain from his wrist up past his elbow. “It was just like a sharp pain up 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.”
McIlroy showed he was in pain throughout the rest of the round as he felt the stinger each time he made contact. He iced his wrist as he played and sought medical attention. A therapist attended to Rory for a few minutes and determined that he couldn’t do any further damage by continuing to play.
So Rory played on and winced, dropped clubs and tried to shake off the pain that each swing caused. He finally got a tape job and did his best lightweight boxer imitation around the remaining holes. Amazingly, over the next fifteen holes he goes one under par to finish even for his round.
His decision has been called stupid and courageous, depending on your point of view, and I’m leaning more towards stupid. I do applaud Rory for playing with pain but he should have been a little more cautious. I find it hard to believe that a therapist could determine in three minutes that he couldn’t hurt himself further. Don’t you need an X-Ray or an MRI for that?
Rory explained afterwards that since it’s a major he didn’t want to withdraw and miss this chance. That’s admirable but you have to be kidding me. Go ask Trevor Immelman what a wrist injury, even a minor one can do to a career. Immelman is just now recovering from a two year battle with his wrist.
If Rory can play relevant golf to, let’s say 44 years old, like leader Steve Stricker has, he’ll have 88 more chances at majors. His MRI has revealed a strained tendon and he’ll decide on Friday morning if he can continue but he is playing with fire here. Maybe he can play through it and finish well, maybe win, but at what cost? Playing with a injury can do strange things to a golf swing.
He’ll have decades to win more majors maybe a little more caution is called for during this one.