CHARLOTTE • After another year without a Major title, Rory McIlroy has suggested that he might have to take an extended break from golf to recover from the rib problem that has been troubling him for the past seven months.
McIlroy, who had come to Quail Hollow as the PGA Championship's pre-tournament favourite, finished off with a three-under 68.
It was his best round of the tournament, but it still left him far down the field at one-over 285 - nine strokes behind champion Justin Thomas.
His last Major victory was the 2014 US PGA and he has now gone three full years without adding to his haul of four titles.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "You might not see me until next year."
He added that he could continue to play on through the lucrative end-of-season events, the FedExCup in the US and the Race to Dubai in Europe, but with his avowed focus on Majors, he is now almost certain to take at least two months off at some point to be in the best possible condition for next April's Masters tournament at Augusta.
"I want to get back into that winner's circle," the 28-year-old said. "You don't want to be teeing off at 9.45am on the final round of a Major on a Sunday.
"That is not where you want to be. I have a good bit of time to get healthy and address a few things going forward.
"The next big thing is April and that's really what my focus will be on from now until then."
McIlroy was expected to fly home to Northern Ireland on Sunday and is due to meet Steve McGregor, his fitness expert and sports scientist, within the next few days.
While the injury still allows him to play, McIlroy has explained in the past that it restricts his practice to such an extent that he has been unable to prepare properly for big events.
THE TIMES, LONDON