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Mickelson, Rose defend Rory's decision to play soccer

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Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar came to Rory McIlroy’s defense on Wednesday, saying that the world No. 1 can’t live his life in fear even after suffering a significant ankle injury while playing soccer with friends.  

Mickelson knows from experience.

In March 1994, he fell while skiing in Arizona and snapped his femur in half. He missed the Masters for the only time as a pro and sat out three months.

“I said then, and I feel the same way now, you can’t live your life in fear,” Mickelson said at the Scottish Open. “You have to enjoy the moment. I didn’t feel like anything (McIlroy) was doing was an unnecessary risk. He was just playing around and accidents happen. 

“People get hurt taking a shower and doing normal day-to-day things. You can’t stop living your life.”

A normal day-to-day thing was what sent Kuchar to the sidelines at last year’s PGA Championship. After a shopping trip to buy a water slide for his kids, Kuchar was sitting in traffic when his back seized up. Two days later, the spasms still hadn’t subsided and Kuchar withdrew from the year’s final major. 

“I don’t think you can stop living your life,” he said. “You can’t form a bubble around yourself. You can’t protect everything. So I don’t think you stop doing what you’ve always done to this point.”

Rose didn’t criticize his Ryder Cup teammate either, saying that the 26-year-old McIlroy is the kind of player who “likes to get his mind away from golf.” For Rose, who admits he’s not the “biggest daredevil in the world,” that hobby is spearfishing in the Bahamas.

“I think he’s the kind of guy that, if he practiced 24/7 and got too much in his own head, it’s not going to help him,” Rose said of McIlroy, before adding: “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 the season. It’s unfortunate for him, obviously.”