World No Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will defend his title in this week’s PGA Championship and says the left ankle he injured is 100 per cent ready to play.
The 26-year-old Ulsterman suffered ligament damage in the ankle last month while playing football with friends, missing his chance to defend the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
McIlroy played practice rounds at Whistling Straits over the weekend to test his ankle and went around another nine holes in the rain Monday.
“To play golf, it’s 100 per cent,” McIlroy said. “To go back on a soccer pitch, it wouldn’t be quite ready. But to do what I need to do this week, it’s 100 per cent.”
McIlroy will play the first two rounds alongside US Open and Masters winner Jordan Spieth and Open champion Zach Johnson.
“It felt fine, McIlroy added. “It’s good. I’ve come a long way in five weeks.”
McIlroy, who has been hitting balls since July 28, insists he’s happy with the state of his game and is sure the injury won’t impact upon his swing.
“I’m finding the middle of the clubface,” he said. “I think the one thing for me was if my short game was sharp. But I’ve been chipping and putting since basically this happened. I was putting in the boot. So I’ve kept that part of the game sharp. So everything feels pretty good.
“It actually feels better when I go at it as hard as I want, because my left foot sort of spins out of the way whenever I hit the driver anyway.
“So it’s more if my left foot was to stay sort of completely flat, like roll on to the left side like a lot of guys do, then it would obviously probably create a few problems. Because mine sort of spins out of the way, it takes a lot of pressure off it.”
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