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McIlroy hints at another break

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 13/08/2017 skysports.com
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Rory McIlroy hinted that he may take another break from competitive golf as he revealed he was still not fully recovered from the rib injury he first suffered at the start of the year. 

McIlroy is resigned to a third straight year without winning a major after a disappointing third-round 73 left him at four over par for the PGA Championship and too far back to contend on Sunday at Quail Hollow.

The 28-year-old is hoping to "sign off on a positive note", but he admitted he was not able to put in his desired amount of practice as he is still restricted by the rib injury which kept him out of the game for two lengthy periods earlier this year.

"It's not a factor when I'm out on the course, but it's a factor off the course in terms of how much time I can practice," said McIlroy. "It's catch 22 because I want to play and I can play, but I can't put the practice in that I need to to get myself up in contention.

"We'll see where we go from here. I'll play tomorrow and assess my options for the rest of the year. I've still got a few big tournaments left, so it's a question of whether I play in all of them or take some time off to get 100 per cent healthy."

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McIlroy had hoped that a pair of 67s or better over the weekend could get him into contention to lift the Wanamaker Trophy for the third time, but his round followed a similar pattern to the first two as he littered his card with five bogeys while making three bogeys.

The world No 4 pulled his approach to the second into the greenside rough and led to his first dropped shot, which he followed with another blemish at the fifth after finding rough off the tee and coming up short with his second.

McIlroy clawed a shot back with a neat pitch to five feet at the long seventh, but he made a mess of the 10th and ran up an ugly six after needing four shots just to find the putting surface, and he went from rough to more rough at the next to drop to five over for the tournament.

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He did lift his spirits with a superb tee shot to three feet at the short 13th, and he added another birdie at 15 before missing the green at the tough 17th and missing from six feet for par.

McIlroy, a two-time winner of the Wells Fargo Championship at the same venue, albeit on a vastly easier course, did manage to get up and down from short of the final green, but he will be among the early starters on Sunday.

"It was sort of the same as the first couple of days, I was struggling to get anything going and struggling to get any momentum," he added. "I was two over through five today, so obviously that wasn't the start I wanted, and when you get off to a start like that around here, it's very tough as you're under pressure to birdie the birdie holes - seven, eight and 10.

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"I didn't get off to the best of starts but that's the way it is. After playing the practice rounds, I felt like there was a decent one out there. But the way the conditions have been the last three days, I haven't seen a low score out there for me. I definitely haven't driven the ball well enough to give myself chances for birdies and build a score.

"I felt like I battled well out there even though I shot two over par, so hopefully I can sign off with a good one on Sunday. I know I can get better out of myself, that's for sure, and that's been the story for most of the year and not just this week.

"But I'm staying as patient as I can and I'm trying not to get frustrated as that would lead to more bogeys and more mediocre play. I've tried to stay positive and I've done that this week. I've not been upset with myself or got angry, I just haven't played good enough golf."

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McIlroy also hit out at the pace of play on day three as it took him five hours and 20 minutes to get round in his three-ball with James Hahn and Omar Uresti, and he questioned the decision of the PGA of America to not send the players out in pairs despite Friday's weather delay.

"I think we're used to slow rounds on the Tour these days," he said. "I guess they probably could have played us in twos and there would have been enough daylight. I don't know why they put us in threes, so hopefully we go to twos tomorrow if the weather is decent.

"That will get the guys around a little bit quicker. Five hours 20 minutes out there in that heat was a little too long for my liking."

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