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McIlroy seems to have sights set on Masters

Rory McIlroy seems to have sights set on next year's Masters Tournament

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rory McIlroy sounded more like a doctor than a golfer yesterday after a final-round 3-under-par 68 left him a disappointing 1-over in the season's final major and well off the pace at the tightly contested 99th PGA Championship.

After finishing tied for fourth place at the Open and tied for fifth at the Bridgestone, McIlroy came to Quail Hollow with high hopes of winning for a third time on this course as well as ending the major season with his third PGA Championship. He did neither, blaming much of his listless showing on a lingering rib injury dating back to January.

"Right now, I can feel my left rhomboid going into spasm," McIlroy said. "It's sort of the way it has been the last few weeks. I've upped my practice coming into these two events because I wanted to feel like I was in a good place in my game. But right now 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. The inside of my left arm goes numb. So I don't know what to do."

MORE: Full PGA Championship scores

McIlroy said he will take this week off and then have to decide what he will do when the FedEx Cup playoffs begin in two weeks.

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

McIlroy was alluding to the Masters, which he needs to complete the career Grand Slam. McIlroy has now gone three full seasons without winning a major championship, a disappointment he noted yesterday.

"It's tough," McIlroy said. "I want to get back into that winner's circle. You don't want to be teeing off at 9:45 on the final rounds of a major on a Sunday. That is not where you want to be. As I said, the next big thing is April and that's really what my focus will be on from now until then."

Sounds like you might not want to be waiting for McIlroy at TPC Boston over Labor Day weekend.

DJ's costly spill

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished the PGA Championship with a final-round 67 that left him with missed feelings and another missed major opportunity that began in April and has not subsided.

The night before the Masters, Johnson slipped and fell on the stairs of his rental home, tumbling down on his back and being forced to withdraw. He went on to fail to make the cut at the U.S. Open, finish tied for 54th at the Open and tied for 13th here, never really challenging at a major this year after opening the season with three straight wins and a second-place tie.

It was an underwhelming end to what had been an overwhelming beginning to his season.

"Definitely a little frustrated, for sure, because going into Augusta I'm playing the best golf of my career," Johnson said. "Everything is working very well and then unfortunately I didn't get to play the Masters and then just struggled a little bit this whole summer.

"It's all due to what happened right before Augusta, slipping and hurting my back. I can still feel it a little bit. No pain or anything like that. Still just a little bit tight. It's not injured. I just need to keep working on stretching it."

Despite his problems in major championships this season, Johnson said he still had five big events left, the FedEx playoffs and the Presidents Cup competition in late September to look forward to rather than view as a pain in the neck. Or the back.

"The next six weeks are big," he said. "The four playoff events and Presidents Cup. I need to take a few days to relax and then it's time to get back at it."

Spieth thoughts

When Jordan Spieth was walking off the 18th green yesterday having finished a disappointing 2-over and outside the top 25 in the season's final major, caddy Michael Greller had a word of encouragement for him, even though his quest to become the youngest golfer to win the career Grand Slam had come up short.

"Michael is telling me walking off 18, 'Hey, just want you to know that's a great year in the major,' " Spieth said. "I go, 'Buddy, we won one of the majors (the Open). I understand that's a great year in the majors.'

"He almost thinks I'm disappointed maybe with how this week went, but we won a major. We had a chance to win at Augusta, too (tied for 11th). The U.S. Open (tied for 35th) and here I didn't have a chance to win, which is a downer but when I look back on the year in the major championships, shoot, it was fantastic.

"If I did this every year, I would go down as the greatest ever to play the game. I need to look at it that way and I am."

This article is written by Ron Borges from Boston Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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