JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) — Rory McIlroy headed for a tennis vacation.
The U.S. Open winner finished up his PGA Championship on Sunday with a second straight 74, sending him to 11-over par and tied for 64th. He said his injured right wrist felt better and he was simply glad for a few days off.
Though McIlroy’s not heading home to Northern Ireland, he’s off to Cincinnati.
“I hear it’s nice up there this time of year,” he said with a grin.
Cincinnati is also site of a WTA tournament featuring McIlroy’s friend, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. The two have been the subject of gossip since they were photographed together a month ago.
McIlroy, though, quickly turned the conversation back to his PGA performance.
It was certainly a struggle, he said, since injuring his right wrist on an ill-considered shot, the ball up against a tree root.
“I basically played 70 holes of this tournament not at 100 percent, so it’s always going to be tough,” he said.
The wrist has felt better each day. He said the swelling has gone down although his muscle remains sore. “Just a little bit of rest should be it,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy, 22, was proud of his drama-filled major season – the Masters final-round collapse followed by the U.S. Open runaway at Congressional. He tied for 25th at the British Open.
“Led by four going into the Masters, led by eight going into the U.S. Open, so there’s been huge positives to take out of the majors this year,” he said. “It’s nice to get one under my belt early and focus on getting more.”
RICKIE’S REFLECTIONS: Rickie Fowler played in all four majors for the first time in his young professional career. And despite only seriously contending in the Bristish Open this season, believes he’s learned a few things that will move him up the leaderboard in 2012.
Fowler closed the PGA Championship on Sunday with a 68, leaving him 51st at 6-over par. He was 38th at the Masters, missed the cut at the U.S. Open before his fifth place finish at Royal St. George’s last month.
“Definitely learned a bit,” Fowler said. “Played good in a couple of Open championships overseas and look forward to getting into some more of those and getting some better finishes than the other majors.”
Fowler hoped that would be this week at Atlanta Athletic Club, instead an opening 74 and a third-round 75 took him out of the mix. Fowler didn’t want his major farewell to be another sky-high performance.
Fowler made consecutive bogeys on the second and third holes that took him to 10-over par when things turned.
“I really didn’t want to finish double digits over par,” he said. “So I had something to shoot for.”
Fowler got on a run of five birdies over his next 13 holes to move up before a bogey on the last hole – he put his drive in the water on the 18th – ended things.
PHIL’S WEEK: Phil Mickelson never got the stellar round he expected to have at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Mickelson wrapped the PGA Championship with a 70 to finish at even par.
“I felt like I was one good round away, 4- or 5-under par the first three days of getting in it, but just wasn’t able to do it,” he said. “I just really struggled making birdies here.”
Mickelson thought he might have a Sunday run after reaching 2-under heading to the back nine. But then came a bogey at 10 and a par on the 551-yard 12th hole to take away the momentum.
“I was thinking eagle on 12 and didn’t get it done,” he said. “I certainly thought there was an opportunity here.”
Mickelson ended his major season with a top-20 performance. He was 27th in defense of his Masters title, then was a non factor at the U.S. Open. He was in the lead at the British before falling back to second behind Darren Clarke.
ALLENBY’S CHANCES: Australia’s Robert Allenby knows he helped himself in his try for the President’s Cup international team with a final-round 68 at the PGA Championship. He also knows he could’ve done much, much more.
Allenby came into Atlanta Athletic Club 13th in the international points standings. The top 10 automatically qualify for November’s matches at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. Captain Greg Norman adds two additional selections.
“I’m trying my hardest,” Allenby said. “Greg knows that I’ll do as good as I can do at the moment to try and get there.”
Allenby was on the way to perhaps at top 15 PGA finish, standing 2-under through 13 holes Sunday and staring down a makable birdie putt on No. 14. That’s when things changed.
Allenby made bogeys on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes to fall to 1-over, tied for 26th. Still, that’s better than six players ahead of Allenby in the standings who failed to make the PGA cut. Allenby says he’ll have chances to improve his status before the BMW Championships end Sept. 18. Then Norman’s picks come eight days later.
“All I’ve got to do is focus on playing golf,” he said. “Hopefully, that’ll take care of it.”
DIVOTS: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was at 1-under par and in contention after 36 holes, then went 76-79 on the weekend. Love had wanted a strong showing to bolster his chances of earning a spot on the 2012 team he’ll lead. He entered the PGA eighth in U.S. Ryder Cup points. … Shaun Micheel went from third place with a 66 on Thursday to last among the weekend starters after going 78-77-74. … The PGA’s lone remaining club professional, Mike Small, struggled down the stretch with bogeys or higher on seven of his final eight holes. He finished at 12-over, behind everyone except Paul Casey, Davis Love III, Micheel and Rory Sabbatini.