If Rory McIlroy had early Thursday tee time, he might have withdrawn from Wells Fargo

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – What might go down as one of Rory McIlroy’s most significant PGA Tour victories almost didn’t happen.

McIlroy, who closed with a 68 at the Wells Fargo Championship for a one-stroke victory, said he was hitting balls on the range Wednesday when his neck locked up.

“I had done a really good practice session on the range. I hit a 3-iron, flushed it and I turned back to talk to [caddie Harry Diamond] and as I turned, my left side of my neck just completely locked up and I couldn't move it,” McIlroy said. “It was really, really strange.”

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McIlroy said he spent Wednesday night icing his neck but when he woke up Thursday his range of motion was still severely limited.

“I didn't have much movement,” he said. “I was trying to make a backswing and could only maybe take it half the way back before it started to catch.”

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Luckily for McIlroy his 12:54 p.m. tee time allowed him enough time for treatment and he managed to not shoot himself out of the tournament with a first-round 72.

“If I had been playing Thursday morning, I probably would have pulled out, but I had enough time to get treatment Thursday morning, get it loosened up,” he said.

“It was still bothering me on Thursday afternoon. People probably saw the [KT] tape that was on my neck, but it sort of loosened up as the week went on.”