Golf: McIlroy set to return from injury, plans Saturday practice round at Whistling Straits

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland practices at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 6, 2015.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland practices at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 6, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

NORTH CAROLINA (REUTERS) - World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy has scheduled a Saturday practice round at Whistling Straits, site of next week's PGA Championship, a reliable source told Reuters on Monday.

The Northern Irishman has not played since rupturing the anterior ligament in his left ankle early last month, an injury that prevented him from defending his British Open title at St Andrews.

McIlroy's manager, Sean O'Flaherty, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

News that the four-times major champion plans to tee it up on the Wisconsin course this weekend is the first indication that he may defend his title at the PGA Championship, which starts next Thursday. McIlroy won last year's event by one stroke at Valhalla in Kentucky.

The 26-year-old has ruled himself out of this week's World Golf Championship event in Akron, Ohio.

An employee at Whistling Straits told Reuters he was not allowed to comment on scheduled practice rounds by players ahead of the championship.

Some medical experts said the injury suffered by McIlroy normally takes about 12 weeks to completely heal.