They are the two words no golfer wants to hear.
Equipment companies don’t want to hear them either.
Count tournament sponsors in as well.
Those are the two words that started Tiger Woods on the path that has taken him today to what just might be the end of a brilliant career.
Those are the two words that eliminated Rory McIlroy from this week’s European PGA, the flagship event of the European Tour, one of eight big events in their new Rolex Series where the events pay at least $7 million in total prize money.
McIlroy was hit with those two words two weeks ago at The Players championship. It scared him enough to send him into an MRI tube the Monday after.
That MRI confirmed what most of us suspected.
McIlroy had re-aggravated that stress fracture rib injury that sidelined him for four weeks earlier this season.
You can blame equipment testing on this one, so let’s go ahead and blame TaylorMade.
That is Rory’s new equipment of choice and he let on that perhaps he went a little overboard with the testing stuff. Hit too many balls to make sure that it was the right ball. Hit too many balls to make sure he was good to go with the clubs as well.
Excess was Rory’s latest downfall.
He can’t take any chances, he flat-out said he’s out of the event this week at Wentworth’s West Course, can’t risk it. The U.S. Open at Erin Hills is three short weeks away then the rest fall in line quickly — The Open Championship in July at Royal Birkdale then the PGA in August at Quail Hollow.
The truth about this week on the European Tour is that deep down inside, McIlroy is not heartbroken about missing this one. He’s basically had a love-hate relationship with Wentworth. Yes, he won there in 2014 but missed the 36-hole cut in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He didn’t play last year.
Fact is the tournament needed Rory more than Rory needed the tournament.
As the world’s No. 2 behind Dustin Johnson, he was the big name, highest-ranked player in the field. Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose will have to pick up the slack, they are the only top 10 guys teeing it up over there. Sergio Garcia has been a consistent no-show there.
So enough of Wentworth, back to Rory.
McIlroy has taken heat for his intense gym workouts, workouts that are supposed to prevent the old “nagging injury” bug. Problem is that a swing like McIlroy’s creates tremendous torque on the body. It creates a high-speed collision between the clubface and the golf ball that launches the ball incredible distances off the tee.
Henrik Stenson wondered out loud how long some of the young players can last with that sort of action. He said it will get to them once they get in their 30s and Rory at age 28 will be there in the blink of an eye.
Jason Day battles his share of injuries, he’s 29 and will turn 30 in six months.
One guy who doesn’t seem to stress his body is your current world No. 1. Dustin Johnson’s power looks almost effortless. He just has to watch out for stairs.
So now Rory’s on the shelf again, time on his hands and 21 short days until the next major.
Only thing to fear are those two little words.
Sorry, we didn’t mean to nag, Rory.