Tiger Woods tells Rory McIlroy 'prepare for a painful time'
Tiger Woods has warned Rory McIlroy to expect a painful return to competitive golf today.
The 14-times major winner, whose career has been blighted in part by injury, fears the slopes of Whistling Straits may undermine McIlroy's ability to successfully defend the Wanamaker Trophy.
World number one McIlroy injured ankle ligaments playing football on July 4 and has not played competitively since.
Four-time PGA winner Woods said: "Am I surprised he's made the recovery?
"No, not really. He has good physios, he's worked hard.
"It's a matter of how long is he going to have to go with it like this or is he going to have to get it surgically repaired.
"And then, obviously, this is going to be tough.
"This is going to be a tough golf course, if you miss the golf ball a little bit, and even the walks, from tee box to fairway, they're not straight.
"They've got a little angulation, and it's just a matter of how can he hold that up.
"As far as his talent and to be able to play golf, that's not going to be a problem. He understands how to play. It's a matter of physically can he do it.
"I've had injuries where I've, I blew out my knee and played for a good nine months before I had it fixed. So it can be done. Is he probably going to be in pain? Probably, yeah. Swelling is going to probably occur, but that's why the physios are there, and I'm sure they'll get him organised."
Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke questioned whether McIlroy could defend his title.
"No, I'm not surprised to see him back here," Clarke said. "He obviously has got a wonderful team around him, and he would have done everything he could to get back as quickly as possible.
"I'm sure with an ankle injury he would have been advised not to come back until fully fit. If you injure an ankle and keep playing, it gets worse and worse and worse.
"He's back, he may not be competitively sharp, for obvious reasons, but he's world number one. He's done many amazing things in his young career, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him contending this week."