Rory McIlroy can pick the positives from his comeback at the US PGA Championship, but admitted he is unlikely to defend his title.
The 26-year-old world number one was ruled out of action for over a month ahead of the final major of the year at Whistling Straits after damaging his ankle while playing football with friends.
McIlroy had to sit out July’s Open Championship, but he returned to try and keep hold of the PGA Championship trophy this week.
The Northern Irishman followed up two 71s with an improved third round four-under-par 68 on Saturday, but still sits nine shots off Jason Day, who occupies top spot on the leaderboard on 15 under going into the final round.
It will require McIlroy to break the tournament comeback record in order to win a second successive PGA crown, but he still feels the weekend has been a positive exercise given that he has started to rediscover his best form and suffered no ill-effects with regards to his ankle.
He told Sky Sports: “In the back of your mind, you still think you have a chance, because that’s what your competitive nature tells you. But if you’re looking at it realistically, I want to go out there tomorrow and shoot the best score that I’ve shot this week.
“I’ve stood still a little on Thursday and Friday, but definitely improved today and you want to improve on that again tomorrow [Sunday]. If I do that, I think that, as a whole, the week would be somewhat of a success. It wouldn’t be quite what I wanted, but as I said, I can take positives from it and move on.”