Atlanta: Reigning US Open champion Rory McIlroy battled singlehandedly through pain to fire a par 70 after injuring his right wrist on the third hole on Thursday in round one of the PGA Championship.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland considered quitting, concerned a bit about the damage he might have done playing with the injury, but stayed with it and managed four birdies and four bogeys at Atlanta Athletic Club.
"There were a couple of points where I thought about not continuing," said McIlroy. "But it's a very important tournament and I'm still in the hunt.
"To be honest, I finished with one hand."
McIlroy shared 23rd, seven strokes behind leader Steve Stricker, who posted a 63 to match the all-time low round in a major, a total McIlroy reached last year at the British Open at St. Andrews.
An MRI exam revealed McIlroy had suffered a strained tendon in his right wrist and he will wait until Friday morning after some practice range shots before deciding whether or not he will play the second round.
McIlroy is set to tee off at 8:35 in the morning off the 10th tee alongside the year's other major winners, British Open champion Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
McIlroy's mishap came on the third hole when he was forced to hit a shot near a tree root. He blasted the ball with a 7-iron and that's when the trouble began.
"It was dangerous," McIlroy said. "I thought if I could make contact with the ball and just let the club go, I might get away with it. In hindsight it would have been better to chip out sideways.
"It was a shot I felt like, if I took it on and pulled it off, it could have saved me a shot. But went through impact and held onto the club too long, jarred my right wrist and right forearm. It was very painful after that."
McIlroy, who inspired comparisons to 14-time major champion Tiger Woods in June in winning his first major title at Congressional Country Club, took a bogey at the fifth and favored his right hand the rest of the way, using his left to place balls on tees and even for the post-round handshakes.
"Through that sharp it was like a sharp pain up the forearm and then there was a little bit of swelling on the inside of my wrist, then it was going up my elbow and my shoulder.
"When I go through impact, they reckon my right arm, I've just caught the nerve in between the two bones. Every time I went through a shot I was in a lot of pain. Just going through impact it hurts a lot."
McIlroy led the Masters entering the final round but a woeful back-nine cost him a chance at the green jacket last April. That collapse helped him know what to do to hold onto a late lead in June.
McIlroy, who had shared third in his two prior PGA Championship starts, began the week among the favorites on an Atlanta Athletic Club course that plays to his strengths.
During the round, McIlroy iced the arm and was examined by a medical trainer before having the wrist taped. He made birdies on the par-5 fifth and par-4 sixth and answered a bogey at the eighth with a birdie at 12.
McIlroy took a bogey at the tricky par-3 15th but answered with a birdie on 16 only to give back the shot on the par-3 17th.