GULLANE (Scotland) • Justin Rose has told the injured Rory McIlroy not to change his off-course lifestyle despite the world No. 1 golfer suffering an ankle injury playing social football that could rule him out of next week's British Open.
McIlroy has withdrawn from this week's Scottish Open at Gullane while it remains uncertain whether he will be able to defend his British Open title at St Andrews.
Rose revealed he has taken up deep-sea diving near his Bahamas residence and advised McIlroy not to change his own off-course activities once he has recovered after rupturing ligaments last weekend.
"Rory has to keep doing what he's been doing all his life," Rose told reporters on Tuesday. "I know Rory pretty well and I know he's a guy who likes to live his life.
"He likes to have fun. He likes to get his mind away from golf.
"He's the kind of guy that if he practised 24/7 and got too much in his own head, it's not going to help him. But, then, hindsight is a wonderful thing and Rory probably would not want go playing football again in the middle of a season and certainly not before a Major."
McIlroy's injury appears to have delayed a showdown between him and Jordan Spieth, who is just behind the leader and bidding to leapfrog the Ulsterman into top spot.
But the American is preaching patience, preferring to chip away at McIlroy one event at a time.
"The more you look at the big picture of things, the more weight there is on it," the 21-year-old said. "I think if I just focus on how can I try and win the golf tournament (John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour) this week, I'm going to inch my way closer to that ultimate goal.
"There certainly is an opportunity now. I've never been closer. If Rory hadn't played the way he has played over the last couple years, I think I would have been world No. 1. I've certainly played solid enough to be No. 1 in the world.
"It's a tough position this year given how successful Rory is and I just need to keep working as hard as I have been and focus on this week and next week and a strong finish for the season."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE