McIlroy considering break to heal back muscle

Rory McIlroy might not play again until next year because of back spasms he has been battling much of the season, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland has said.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits from the bunker on the 15th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, on August 13, 2017.

Rory McIlroy said he was considering a break from golf to deal with a back muscle injury that left his left arm numb after his final round at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

"Right now I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm. It's sort of the way it has been the last few weeks," world No. 4 McIlroy said after shooting a 3-under-par 68 at Quail Hollow to finish 1 over for the year's last major.

"It's a tough one because I go out there and play and shoot decent scores but when I come off the course I feel my left rhomboid going into spasm. Inside of my left arm goes numb."

The Northern Irishman injured the muscle in his upper back early this year in South Africa and had treatment on it, but was bothered again by the injury at The Players Championship in May.

"So I don't know what to do. I have got this next week off to assess what I need to go forward," he said, adding that he would consult with his trainer, Steve McGregor, who is a doctor, and consider his options.

"I'm flying home to Northern Ireland tonight. I'll catch up with Steve McGregor this week," McIlroy said.

"Just sort of have a chat with him about it and see what we need to do going forward. But the more I play, it's just not allowing that time to heal 100 percent.

"An injury like this, it's eight full weeks of rest before you start to rehab it and then you go again."

Last year McIlroy finished the season in high style, winning the Tour Championship finale and claimed the US$10-million bonus prize for winning the FedExCup playoffs.

McIlroy said he might decide to skip the FedExCup events, which begin later this month.

"I feel like I'm capable and playing well enough to give myself a chance in it. At the same time, April is a long way away. That's the next big thing on my radar," he said, alluding to the Masters, the major he needs to complete a career grand slam.

McIlroy said he took the time he needed at the start of the year to heal and felt okay through the Masters in April but, after taking time off for his wedding and honeymoon, plunged back into training and did not build up the volume gradually.

"I went from zero to hitting balls for three or four hours a day. That aggravated it a little bit," he said.

"It's there. I can feel it. I can play 18 holes. I warm it up, it's okay. But once I get done, having to go through the whole routine of getting it ready to go again the next day, you shouldn't have to do that.

"If I want to challenge on a more consistent basis, I need to get 100 percent healthy."

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