The writers and editors of Sports Illustrated, Golf Magazine and Golf.com address Rory McIlroy’s wrist injury in this daily edition of PGA Tour Confidential, our weekly roundtable discussion.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: What’s in store for Rory McIlroy this weekend: withdrawal, contention, pointless suffering, permanent damage, mental baggage?
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Rory has come this far with the wrist, so I don’t see a withdrawal, but I don’t see him contending either. He’s injured, and that will impact how he plays. We saw that on Friday. I look for a middle-of-the-pack finish and great expectations for next April in Augusta.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Hopefully he withdraws. It’s clear he doesn’t have his full arsenal of shots. Now that he’s middle of the pack, why go on? He’s already proven he has a lot of heart. No reason to risk further injury.
Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: If he were really in danger of doing serious damage, I don’t think he’d be out there. He got checked out on the course yesterday and he’s had an MRI, so I think he’s doing the right thing. Sure, he’s hurting a little, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a move this weekend.
Shipnuck: Doctors aren’t always right. He hurt the wrist playing golf, he can hurt it even worse playing golf.
Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: I think it’s clear he’s not withdrawing and it’s too soon to say if he’ll contend, but who’s to say he won’t go low two days in a row? From what I saw today, he played better than his score. (He missed a lot of putts.) Rory just has to battle through it mentally and do his best not to be overly protective of his wrist. He needs to find that swagger again. I thought he looked a little despondent today, especially after the triple, which was understandable.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Hard to believe he’ll get the swagger back while he’s hurting. I agree with Alan. It’s best to take the long view and WD. No one will fault him for it. He gave it his best shot.
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Rory is not going to withdraw unless he sustains another injury, but I have to think the tape on his wrist and forearm are effecting his touch. He’s missed a bunch of putts, and that is going to keep him from contending here. He’ll most certainly shut it down for a few weeks after he leaves Atlanta, but he’s proven to me that he’s as tough as he is talented.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: The wrist is well enough for him to hit measured drives of 329 and 334 yards today. He just needs to make some putts. He says he can’t get comfy with the speed, and he took 33 putts with three three-putts today.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: It’s the last major of the year, he’s still realistically in it, and he’s apparently not making the injury worse. Agree with Dusek that it’s affecting his touch, but these guys adjust quickly. The worst thing mentally for him would be a WD. He didn’t get where he is by playing it safe.
John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: He swung all-out with the driver today, so I think the pain is manageable. Plus, I’m a great believer in the miracles of duct tape. I see Rory playing out the weekend and finishing in the top 25.
Hanger: Plus, this will be good for golf’s image. One of the announcers said yesterday that the football players of the world must be snickering at this little wrist injury being such a big deal. As the SI alum Dan Jenkins once wrote, You Gotta Play Hurt. Good for him for sticking it out. Golf has tough guys too!
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He will neither withdraw nor win, but I hope he takes home a strong dose of course management. Third hole of a tournament, and you’re trying to hit that shot? The wise play would have been to chip out.
Wei: Remember, he’s only 22. Lee Westwood said it best: “A 22-year-old Lee Westwood probably would have taken it on. A 38-year-old Lee Westwood probably wouldn’t.”