Justin Rose has backed Rory McIlroy’s decision to play football just days before the defence of his Open title – and revealed he relaxes by going spearfishing in the Bahamas.
McIlroy suffered a serious ankle injury during a kickabout with friends on Saturday and medical experts believe he could be out of action for several months if it is a “total rupture” of the anterior talofibular ligament, as described by the Northern Irishman himself.
The 26-year-old has pulled out of this week’s Scottish Open and although he has refused to rule out defending his Open title at St Andrews next week, the odds appear stacked against the four-time major winner.
McIlroy’s decision to play football in the middle of the season has been questioned in some quarters, but Rose – who will defend his own title at Gullane – was not about to criticise his Ryder Cup team-mate.
“I think Rory has to keep doing what he’s been doing all his life,” Rose said. “I know him pretty well and I think he’s a guy who likes to live his life. He likes to have fun. He likes to get his mind away from golf. I think he’s the kind of guy that, if he practised 24/7 and got too much in his own head, it’s not going to help.
“We obviously all love the way he plays and he plays really free, and that doesn’t really go hand in hand with somebody who wraps himself up in practise all day and doesn’t really do anything – or I guess enjoy himself.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 6, 2015
“It’s a tough question, middle of the season, before a major championship… hindsight is a wonderful thing. He probably wouldn’t do it again and it’s probably the last time he does play football in the middle of season. It’s unfortunate for him obviously.” A
sked what potentially dangerous activities he takes part in, world No7 Rose added: “I’m not the biggest daredevil in the world. Anything involving water relaxes me, so maybe spearfishing – that’s probably the most James Bond, daredevil thing I get up to.
“I guess living in the Bahamas now it’s what the locals do and what some of my friends do. It’s what I’ve been roped into doing. I’m not particularly comfortable in the water yet but I’ve had a couple cracks at it.
“Learning new things and pushing yourself to do different things is a great way to switch off and sort of free your mind from golf.”
No player has successfully defended the Scottish Open title and Rose will only see the composite course at Gullane for the first time in today’s pre-tournament pro-am.
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