McIlroy says tests show no new back injury

Rory McIlroy moved to one-under overall at the Players' Championship, after carding a one-under 71 in the third round.

But he conceded he had still not got to grips with how best to plot his way round the Pete Dye design, where he missed the cut on his first four appearances, although he has finished inside the top 12 on each start since.

"I've been struggling with it a bit this week, sort of felt it for the first time on Sunday", he said. "It dictates to you, you can't really dictate how you play it and the course sort of makes the decision for you, I guess". His previous best came past year, opening in 70-70-77 and closing in 68 as well, climbing 27 spots on the final day for T28. But this time, he provided one of the funniest golfer-reporter exchanges of the year. Instead of maybe gradually building it up again, I hit balls for four or five hours on Friday and did the same on Saturday.

"But there's so many unknowns because we don't even know ... unless you get an image taken of it and you know exactly what's going on you don't know".

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"It might just be a flare-up of what happened previously and I just need to rest for a few days and it might be ok".

"I'm going for a MRI scan on Monday just to make sure it's not serious and then I'll see what we do from there".

But the four-time major victor, whose back was heavily strapped, is confident the problem is not a recurrence of the rib-joint injury that sidelined him for seven weeks at the start of the year, and he insisted his back actually felt better than during the second round. Hopefully that's what the scans show.

World No. 1 and FedExCup leader Dustin Johnson fired a 4-under-par 35-33=68 in the final round of THE PLAYERS to wrap up on 2-under 286, up 27 places on the live leaderboard to T17 and good for the low round in the clubhouse.

  • Regina Holmes