Over a month removed from the freak accident that sidelined him for the British Open, No. 1 ranked golfer Rory McIlroy continues to drop hints about when he will return to the PGA tour.
Over the last two days, the 26-year-old has posted a series of photos and videos on Instagram showing his rehabilitation from the ruptured ligaments in his left ankle sustained while playing soccer with friends, depicting one of his powerful drive from the tee, and what appears to be the cockpit of a private jet bound for the United States. One picture in particular showed just what kind of trauma that left ankle’s gone through.
Known to connect with this fans and supporters through various social media outlets, including his decision not to defend his British Open crown, McIlroy could be gearing up for a return at the PGA Championships at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, beginning next week.
McIlroy specifically ruptured the anterior talofibular ligament, or ATFL, a particularly concerning injury for any athlete, but for golfers it greatly limits the kind of pressure and lower body power necessary for a swing of the club. According to GolfChannel.com, McIlroy endured a full Grade 3 injury to the ligament, which left the bones around the ankle in danger of bruising.
Typically there is no clear-cut timetable for recovering from such an injury, but some estimates for a more minor Grade 1 hover around three to six weeks. In McIlroy’s case, neither he nor anyone from his camp have nailed down an exact recovery schedule or return date over the last month.
However, McIlroy’s known as not only competitive but as a dedicated student of the game, and he does have several motives to come back as soon as possible. For one, McIlroy is the defending PGA slam champion and he already missed out on the chance to defend his British Open crown.
Secondly, though he’s won two events and finished in the top ten six times this year, McIlroy is in danger of losing his No. 1 overall ranking to burgeoning American star and No. 2 Jordan Spieth. The 21-year-old set the golf world ablaze with his victories in the U.S. Open and Masters earlier this year, and came one stroke away from a championship playoff at the British last month.
Determined by the average number of points gained per event, McIlroy currently holds a 12.48 average compared to Spieth’s 11.41, a difference that could be made up depending on how Spieth performs at Whistling Straits.