Golf: Rory McIlroy's ankle good for PGA defence starting Thursday

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 115th US Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 19, 2015.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 115th US Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 19, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

KOHLER (Wisconsin) • World No. 1 Rory McIlroy effectively declared himself fit for his title defence in this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, when he told Golf Channel on Sunday that his rehabilitated left ankle was a "non-issue".

The Northern Irishman, out of action since he ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing football with friends on July 4, spoke after playing 18 holes of practice for a second day in a row at the venue in Kohler, Wisconsin.

After his first practice round at Whistling Straits on Saturday, where he was seen scampering up the hills on the undulating layout, the Northern Irishman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his ankle was "good" before he headed off to the parking lot.

"Obviously, getting around a golf course like this, playing 18 holes, it felt fine," the four-time Major winner said. "I've come a long way in five weeks. This has been the five-week mark today from when I did (the injury)."

McIlroy, who defeated Phil Mickelson by a shot last year at Valhalla, arrived in the morning and took part in a full exercise regimen as prescribed by doctors before hitting a shot.

The 26-year-old does not have to commit to the PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday, until his official tee time for the opening round.

He has been grouped with Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth and British Open winner Zach Johnson for the first two rounds of the tournament - the year's final Major.

Should he tee off as expected on Thursday, it would be just 40 days since he suffered an injury that some medical experts said might take about three months to heal.

But his presence would give the PGA Championship a huge boost.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2015, with the headline 'McIlroy's ankle good for PGA defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe