Rory McIlroy’s injury ‘feeling better’ after Tour Championship, Ryder Cup preparations revealed

ATLANTA — Aside from Viktor Hovland blistering the field at East Lake, Rory McIlroy’s back injury was the biggest storyline to emerge from the sweltering Georgia heat.

McIlroy struggled to gain momentum over the first three rounds at the Tour Championship, mainly because of his back, but he carded a 5-under 65 Sunday to finish in solo fourth.

After his round, McIlroy spoke with the media.

“I’m excited that I’m feeling better,” McIlroy said. “I hung in there [over] the first couple of days when I really wasn’t feeling great. Then I felt I could actually tee the driver up a bit today and hit a couple of tee shots in the air. Felt like I could cover the ball more with my irons.”

Photo by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

McIlroy could not even swing a club on Wednesday, as the first shots he hit in Atlanta were on the practice range Thursday morning. He hit only 20 wedge shots before the opening round.

But now, the Northern Irishman is feeling better and looking ahead. He will rest and continue to do rehab exercises on his back before picking up the clubs next weekend.

McIlroy will then head home to the Emerald Isle for the Irish Open in two weeks, which will be held at the historic K Club in County Kildaire.

He will play at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England the following week. From there, he will head to Italy for the Ryder Cup.

TOUR Championship - Final Round

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“I think we’re all excited,” McIlroy said of the bi-annual competition.

“A lot of us were on that team at Whistling Straights [in 2021], and that didn’t feel very nice, didn’t feel good. But I’m excited to get back over to Europe. We’re all making our way over to Europe a couple of weeks early. So it will be nice to all get together, and have some early team dinners before the week in Rome, and I feel like that team chemistry is starting already.”

Thankfully for McIlroy, his back will likely be okay when the Europeans convene for those pre-Ryder Cup meals.

Plus, Team Europe has revenge on their minds. They hope to defend their home turf once again too. The Americans have not won the Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993.

“Everyone knows the Ryder Cup is such a different deal,” McIlroy added. “[The back] is much better… and we’re all excited.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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