McIlroy’s Back Injury May Stifle His Ability to Win FedEx Cup

Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship, East Lake,(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship, East Lake,(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Rory McIlroy suffered a back injury earlier this week, but didn’t mention it until it became obvious just before he teed it up at the Tour Championship. It happened at home, between the BMW and the Tour Championship.

According to reports from Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis on-site at East Lake Golf Club, McIlroy only hit 20 balls to warm up, which is not normal. Normally, a golfer warms up for 30 to 45 minutes before teeing off.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time the back has bothered Rory McIlroy.

The first time was in February of 2010, when Lawrence Donegan detailed in The Guardian what he called the “first injury setback of his ( McIlroy’s) professional career.”

It was diagnosed as a “near stress fracture to the facet joint between his L4 and L5 vertebrae.”  Supposedly, it was caused by too much practice.

That time, McIlroy had a scan done at Belfast Hospital. The injury was pronounced manageable. McIlroy’s camp said they knew about it, and that it was not new. They referred to it as inflammation, adding that managing his schedule would take care of it, although no outline of what the schedule changes would be was mentioned.

Rory McIlroy later told Golf Digest that he had felt a back twinge earlier than 2010. It was at the 2009 Masters. He thought it would go away, but, of course, it didn’t.

Then, another back injury popped up in 2017, in January, just before the Abu Dhabi tournament. It was diagnosed as a stress fracture in his rib.

In March, it was still a problem. He said it was in the same area as the January back problem and noted the pain level was lower.

“If that injury was an eight or a nine in terms of pain and soreness and stiffness, this is around a four or five,” McIlroy told The Guardian at the time.

Whether McIlroy is able to continue to play after round one or not remains to be seen. He started three shots behind leader Scottie Scheffler, and by the end of the first nine, he was 2-over par.  Scheffler began his round at 10-under and shot a front nine 33, putting him 12-under at the turn.

Meanwhile, the rest of the field is not letting up. Collin Morikawa absolutely blitzed the course with a 9-under par 61.

Next. More on Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship. dark

He had two birdies and an eagle on the front side, the eagle coming at the par 5, 6th hole. After the turn, he went on another birdie barrage, making them at 10, 12,16, 17 and 18.

Adam Schenk posted a 63, Tyrrell Hatton, a 64.