Word that Rory McIlroy was dealing with a recurrence of the back pain that sidelined him for seven weeks earlier this year filtered through TPC Sawgrass last week.

McIlroy gritted his teeth and turned in a two-over, tied-for-35th finish at The Players, but he was candid with reporters, admitting the pain was in the same area as his previous injury but not as severe.

‘If that injury was an 8 or a 9 in terms of pain and soreness and stiffness, this is around a 4 or 5. 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. Hopefully, that’s what it shows in the scan…”

An MRI Monday in Northern Ireland confirmed his suspicions, showing “no new injury, rather a low grade response to the rib joint I injured earlier in the year,” according to the Ulsterman.

He indicated that he still plans to tee it up at the BMW PGA Championship, which begins May 25 and will presumably rest until then.

McIlroy missed four tournaments earlier this year following soreness in his back at the South African Open in January. He was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in a rib.

Glancing at the calendar, the U.S. Open is in four weeks.

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  1. keep pumping iron….wearing shirts (at least) one size too small…so you can “look more athletic”….Rory is headed down Tigers path (minus 10 majors). Sad to see really