Rory McIlroy has posted several Instagram videos this week teasing his potential return to the PGA Championship. His latest is the most telling.
The world's No. 1 player posted a video Thursday morning of himself hitting driver on the practice range, looking as healthy as we’ve seen him since suffering a left ankle injury on July 4. McIlroy is wearing a protective brace on the ankle in the video, but otherwise shows few signs of ailment or limitation.
The video comes a few days after McIlroy's camp shot down rumors of him having scheduled a practice round at Whistling Straits for this Saturday, saying only that he was, "still going through the ankle rehab process." Based on the video below, McIlroy's rehab is going quite well.
A video posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on
According to Top 100 teacher Brady Riggs, director of instruction at Woodley Lakes GC in Van Nuys, California, McIlroy is swinging the same as he was before the injury.
"From a technical standpoint, his left foot is functioning on the ground exactly as it did before the injury," Riggs said. "Through impact, Rory's left heel always comes off the ground slightly and that foot spins a little so that it's more flared open through the ball than it was at address. He's doing the exact same move through the ball now that he was prior to the injury. Not only is he swinging hard at it, but he hasn't changed the form from the way it was. That happens a lot, where guys will make a small adjustment to avoid a bit of pain. But Rory's not stupid, he won't change his technique just to come back sooner."
Another Top 100 instructor Jon Tattersall, the Atlanta-based founder of golf performance facility Fusion ATL, isn't quite as optimistic about Rory's health.
"He looks like he's going at full speed, but the video is not face on so you can't see exactly how the left ankle is working. Maybe that's hidden by design? He's also got some sort of mini cast or elastic brace on there. The left leg looks stable and is moving into the ball pretty well, but it's hard to tell how stable the ankle is.
"Given what he's doing there, I'd imagine he would go and have a practice round at Whistling Straits and see how it feels overall—walking, moving, hitting on slopes. That's where you're going to find out. Back to hitting drivers? That's great, but that's a long way from competing in a major."
McIlroy also posted the following photo Thursday morning, revealing just how swollen his injured ankle originally was and how far it's come since.
A photo posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on
McIlroy has until his tee time Thursday at Whistling Straits to make a decision on whether or not to play. Until we hear an official announcement, the guessing game over whether he'll be able to defend his title or not continues.