McIlroy won’t stop playing footie

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World number one Rory McIlroy insists that he won’t be making changes to his off-course hobbies despite rupturing ankle ligaments playing football.

The Ulsterman was unable to defend his Open title last month after injuring his left ankle during a kick-about with some friends, an injury that also put his participation in this week’s PGA Championship in doubt.

Speaking on Wednesday, McIlroy said that he was 100 percent ready to defend his title at the year’s final major, and defended his decision to play football in his spare time, something he has no intention of stopping.

“Anytime that I go back home, one of the things that I regularly do with my friends is that I play football,” he said.

“That was like the fourth or fifth time in a ten-day period that I did play. I enjoy it, we all enjoy it, it’s unfortunate that it happened.

“It can happen walking off a tee box, or on the street falling off a curb, it can happen doing anything. Unfortunately my foot just got stuck in the turf and I was out for a few weeks. It could have been a lot worse, it could have required surgery. I’ve done a lot of rehab and a lot of hard work to get back as quickly as I could.

“I wasn’t trying to focus on any one event to try and get back for, I just wanted to try and get back as quickly as possible. It just so happens that this is the event that I felt 100% ready to come back and play.

“I might take some precautionary measures next time because I rolled my right ankle in 2013…obviously I did it a little bit worse here on my left. I’ll maybe wear ankle braces on both ankles but I’m not going to stop doing what I do. I enjoy that part of my life, having that normality in my life. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid…I won’t stop doing it.”

McIlroy concedes that he was lucky the injury wasn’t more serious, as he would have missed this week’s major at Whistling Straits if he had been forced to undergo surgery.

“I thought I’d broken it because as soon as I went over it, I heard a snap,” he said.

“Obviously that was the ligament that snapped and then as well as that, I tore the joint capsule. I looked down and in 30 seconds, it got the size of a tennis ball.

“When I got the scan that night, it showed I totally ruptured one ligament and had a grade two in the other. If that had been a total rupture in that, then that would have required surgery.

“As injuries go, it could have been worse. I was lucky that I didn’t do more damage. Thankfully after five weeks of hard work and rehab, I’m back playing.”

McIlroy will begin his PGA Championship defence in one of Thursday’s early afternoon groups, and will play alongside Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson for the opening two rounds.

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