Rory McIlroy can consider himself lucky if he is fully healthy in time for the PGA Championship next month, in the opinion of a leading Long Island expert on golf injuries.
McIlroy will miss the chance to defend his British Open title this week because of a ruptured ligament in his left ankle. It will take a lot of work and some luck for him to be ready to defend his next major title, the PGA, at Whistling Straits, according to Jeff Poplarski, an Amityville-based sports chiropractor and golf performance specialist who has headed the wellness unit at the past 11 U.S. Opens.
Poplarski has not seen McIlroy, who reported getting hurt playing soccer at home in Northern Ireland. But he has seen injuries like it. The doctor said it appears to be a classic injury, like anyone might get if they rolled their ankle while playing basketball. He added that there is no cut-and-dried timetable for a recovery, and that some people need surgery.
"I know everybody who works with Rory. He's got a great team of doctors and therapists. I'm sure he's getting multiple treatments a day, probably every few hours," Poplarski said, adding that the rehab will involve strengthening the surrounding ligaments.
The complications for a golfer involve walking six to eight miles per round and shifting 80 percent of the body's weight to the front leg on the downswing. "In order for him to come back, he's going to have to be completely pain free and he's going to have to have strength there, which I think is going to take time. I would say between four and eight weeks of rehabilitation," Poplarski said. "For a normal person, it could take eight to 12 weeks. You never really know how these things are going to go."
He added that his team's treatments at the U.S. Open -- for players, caddies, volunteers and spectators -- were up 20 percent this year because of the challenging terrain at Chambers Bay.
Cha takes public links
Kudos to the Metropolitan Golf Association for keeping its arms open for top public golfers. A year after the U.S. Golf Association ended its long-running and prestigious U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship -- an event once won by Ralph Howe III of Sayville, earning him a spot in the Masters -- the MGA still holds its own public links tournament. Fittingly it was held Thursday at a standout municipal course, Eisenhower Red in East Meadow.
Seton Hall University golfer David Cha of Carrollton, Texas, won on the second playoff hole to beat Kyle Brey of Farmingdale. Brey, a former member of Farmingdale's Nassau championship high school golf team, played as a freshman this season for Barry University in Miami. Both golfers finished 3 under par through 36 holes of regulation, and each made a birdie on the last hole to get into the playoff.
100th Met Open
To mark the 100th playing of the Met Open, at Winged Foot on Aug. 25-27, the MGA has produced a series of videos about the event's history. The first one, "Beginnings" has been posted at mgagolf.org/100thvideoseries. It is quite cool to see vintage clips of Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, and to know that they won the tournament.
The video includes a passage from a New York Times writer in 1923 saying, "There is only one worthwhile golf title in the world: the Met Open." That preceded a clip showing Byron Nelson, who used to say the Met Open launched his career. Ben Hogan and Sam Snead also played in it. It also was interesting to learn that, before 1940, a win in the Met Open guaranteed a place on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. It's well worth checking out.
State Open on the Black
National club pro champion Matt Dobyns, the head pro at Fresh Meadow, and runner-up Ben Polland, an assistant at Deepdale, both will be in the field at the New York State Open on Tuesday through Thursday at Bethpage Black. It is open to the public, admission is free. Tee times are at met.pga.com under Tournaments.