Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy Can Beat Injury to Challenge for Honours at US Open

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McIlroy Can Beat Injury to Challenge for Honours at US Open

Article excerpt

RORY McIlroy can overcome an injury-hit campaign and contend for a second US Open title at Erin Hills this week, according to Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.

McIlroy's season has been thrown into disarray by the rib injury suffered during extensive club testing over the winter, which initially kept him sidelined for six weeks after losing a playoff in the South African Open.

The world number two finished seventh, fourth and seventh in his first three strokeplay events on his return, but a recurrence of the problem during the Players Championship saw him withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament.

That means the four-time major winner will have played just six events heading into the year's second major championship, an event he won in record-breaking style in 2011 but one in which he has since missed the cut twice and recorded a solitary top-10 finish.

Asked if the 28-year-old can defy the odds at Erin Hills, Bjorn said: "He can do many things.

"He would love to have played more. He sets his mind on a schedule and that's what he's going to try to stick to and then when he can't do it he suffers a little bit in not getting the right preparation, but then you have to prepare another way.

"Great players adapt to the situation they are in and he is capable of adapting to it.

"It's never nice to play the biggest events if you haven't been playing competitive golf, but that isn't to say he can't go and do it."

McIlroy's absence from the BMW PGA Championship - the first Rolex Series event - was a big blow to the European Tour, especially after Wentworth had undergone a PS5million renovation programme.

But Bjorn, who was involved in the changes made to the West Course, believes it was the right decision for McIlroy's future.

"He was just taking a sensible approach and getting it right before he came back out," the 46-year-old Dane added. "I can't see it being a long-term concern. …

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