Four-time Major winner will go for an MRI scan as recurrent injury flares up again
RORY McILROY admitted his back problems have caused the first blip in his marriage – just three weeks after the wedding.
He explained that he has been lying on his right hand side to try to protect the injured muscle – and wife Erica asked why he was sleeping with his back to her!
McIlroy grinned as he told that story, but there is clearly not much to laugh about as he battles the recurrence of the problem that kept him out of the game for eight weeks at the start of the year.
He provided graphic evidence of just how worrying this latest injury problem is during the final round of the Players’ Championship.
McIlroy teed off at Sawgrass wearing a white shirt that clearly showed the mass of medical tape that criss-crossed his back, in a shape reminiscent of the entrance to a Chinese temple..
It is that area that causes him pain, even though the actual injury is to one of his rib muscles.
After shooting a gritty 71, to move to one under par for the tournament, he commented: “It actually felt a bit better today than it did in the first two rounds, but it is causing me some discomfort.
“I have the tape replaced each day and after the round I spend about 15-20 minutes doing stretches to loosen the tissue, so of course I’m conscious of it all the time.
“It was funny when I started sleeping on my side – Erica looked at me as if to ask what she had done wrong!
“But I really don’t think it’s as bad as the original injury. I’ve got full rotation and no trouble breathing, and that wasn’t the case the first time I did it.
“I’m just hoping the scan on Monday will show it’s just a strain, or a small tear at worst, and that it will be fine with a bit of rest.”
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While McIlroy was struggling to make an impression on the nine shot lead Louis Oosthuizen and Kyle Stanley enjoyed over him at the start of the third round, Masters champion Sergio Garcia continues his amazing charge.
Garcia looked to be suffering from a case of post-Augusta blues as he stumbled to four over par after just six holes in the opening round.
But since his memorable hole in one at the 17th on Thursday, his position has just got better and better.
He fired a superb 67 yesterday, highlighted by a stunning eagle on the long 16th.
At five under he still has a slim chance of claiming a second Players’ title, although it will take another low round today from him to supply the perfect follow-up to his first Major victory.
Meanwhile, Ian Poulter continued to play flawless golf at Sawgrass to stay bang in contention for a remarkable victory.
Poulter, who only got into the field because a money list loophole rescued his PGA Tour playing rights, produced the only bogey free round of day three – and has now played 28 consecutive holes without dropping a shot.
His one under par 71 featured 17 pars and a lone birdie at the second hole, lifting him to six under overall.