News & ToursAugust 12, 2015

Is Rory McIlroy REALLY ready for the PGA Championship? Examining his press conference for clues

HAVEN, Wis. -- Everyone was so busy wondering and worrying about Rory McIlroy's PGA Championship playing prospects (as well as trying to interpret his social-media accounts) that we've glossed over a crucial part of this puzzle: Should he be playing?

The No. 1 player in the world suffered an injury that can keep athletes out for months; McIlroy is coming back in just four weeks. Worse, the Whistling Straits grounds are not exactly the Kansas plains.

One wonders if McIlroy spent so much time in the rehabilitation process that the mental preparation was neglected.

Using McIlroy's time with the media on Wednesday, let's see if we can uncover any evidence to see where his psyche is this week:

Regarding Tuesday night's Champions Dinner...

*"It was a fun night. I went with sort of a Wisconsin theme type meal. There's a few things in there from the local area. But tried to make sure that there was something in there for everyone to eat. I didn't want anyone going hungry." *

RED FLAG. Fun? FUN? Where's the eye of the tiger, the killer instinct? That event shouldn't be fun. It should be an inconvenience!

And making sure everyone had something to eat? These are your opponents! Man should have served cold mutton stew and corned beef and hash. Strike one.

View image | gettyimages.com

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In response to a reporter's question if he was more concerned with his game or ankle on the flight over...

"I guess more worried about the flight in terms of the ankle, just to see if it would swell up."

DAMMIT. He should have said, "Ankle? Why would I be worried about my ankle? I'm here, aren't I?"

As the reader notes, my theoretical Rory is kind of a jerk. Let's see if we can remedy that.

In response to how he's dealing with the injury...

"I mean I went for a 20-minute run this morning...I was going for an hour, two-hour walks maybe two weeks after it happened."

Boom! That's what we wanted to hear. Maybe this ankle thing this is just a media-created monster.

On how he's going to judge his performance coming off injury...

"Expectation levels are the same. I have played quite a number of rounds of golf. I feel like I'm playing well. I expect to play well."

Oh man, he's hulking up! There's that quiet, kill-you-with-a-smile swagger we've come to know from the 26-year-old.

Regarding his head-to-head matchup with Jordan Spieth, whom he's bested by 22 strokes in their rounds together...

"I really don't know if you can look into that at all, especially in the first two rounds. OK, maybe if it was a final round and we were in contention to win you can maybe look into it a bit, but first two rounds, I wouldn't put much importance into that."

In written form, that seemed like an apathetic, but correct, response. But trust me, judging by the cadence of his voice, you could tell McIlroy relishes having such a lead on Spieth. I'm telling ya, he's starting to get that look...

Regarding who he thinks the best player in the world is...

"If you were to go by this year, you would have to say Jordan. I would say if you go over the past two years, it's a toss-up between Jordan and myself. That's a hard one. It's all a matter of opinion."

Eh, come on, Rory. That's too much of an "everyone gets a ribbon!" youth soccer response.

And someone in the media room rightfully called him on this, ribbing him to give his opinion, which led to...

*"I'll tell you at the end of the week." *

For those that need a visual translation of said quote:

That settles it. Rory is ready.

Follow @JoelMBeall


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