McIlroy injury saga: PGA comeback planned say insiders

One of my favorite shots from yesterday... Shows just how dark it was getting at the end!

A photo posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

His PR spokesperson might have shot down an agency story suggesting he's planning a practice round at Whistling Straits on Saturday but there is positive talk in Irish golf circles that Rory McIlroy will come back from his ankle injury for his PGA Championship defence next week after all.

Two sources insist that McIlroy was at the Quinta do Lago golf resort in Portugal last week — a complex owned by Irish businessman Denis O'Brien, who has become friendly with the four-time major winner.

Other sources within Irish golf are confidently expecting the current world No 1 to defend the Wanamaker Trophy next week in what would represent a rapid comeback from an injury than can take up to three months to heal fully.

McIlroy's PR spokesperson, Terry Prone of the Communications Clinic, said on Tuesday that contrary to a Reuters report, he was not booked in to play a practice round at Whistling Straits this coming Saturday.

Replying to a written query, she said: "Not booked for such a round. Still going through the ankle rehab process."

Booked? Scheduled? Planning? Perhaps nuances of meaning are all that are being addressed here.

There was no response from the Communications Clinic when asked if McIlroy had been practicing or whether he had definitively ruled out playing next week - 35 days after suffering what he said on social media was a "total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends." 

However, a BBC story quotes a "spokesman" as saying on Tuesday that McIlroy's recovery is "ongoing" and that there would be a further update on Thursday.

The spokesman described McIlroy's recovery from a ruptured ankle ligament as "progressing well". 

When contacted, other close confidantes of McIlroy's said they preferred not to confirm or deny any information about the Co Down man's recent golfing activity.

When it come to official updates, McIlroy's entourage will do the talking, it appears.

A Thursday update on McIlroy's PGA plans would likely take away from first round coverage of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a tournament he won last year, where Jordan Spieth has a chance to take over as world No 1 with a win. 

McIlroy said within days of suffering his left ankle injury that he was taking "a long term view" of his injury, adding, "although rehab is progressing well, I want to come back to tournament play when I feel 100% healthy and 100% competitive."