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Rory McIlroy ready to get back in action

By Karl MacGinty

Rory McIlroy is hoping he can keep his back-injury woes in check when he teams up with the renowned physio behind Lee Westwood's rise to world No 1.

Before heading to Shanghai for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event, McIlroy travelled to Leeds to meet with Dr Steve McGregor, who has helped the English golfer shed almost three stone over the last four years.

McGregor holds a Masters and PhD in sports medicine and has worked with a number of leading English football clubs, including Leeds United, Aston Villa and Birmingham City.

McGregor has come to prominence in golf for his work with McIlroy's ISM management stablemate Westwood.

The 37-year-old McGregor continues to oversee Westwood's recovery from a nagging calf muscle injury that again sidelined the Englishman ahead of him returning for this week's event in Shanghai.

It is also McGregor who put Westwood on a workout routine that's seen the new world No 1 reduce his body fat by almost half.

While Westwood initially went to McGregor because he felt he was overweight, McIlroy is aiming to strengthen his body so he does not suffer a reoccurrence of the back injury he sustained earlier in the year.

“I've worked with a physio before, but no one of Steve's calibre and experience,” said McIlroy.

“When I met him last week, we discussed the injury I had this year. I know from Steve's work with Lee how beneficial he can be in building up my body and if my work with him makes a fraction of a difference, then it will be worth it.”

Aside from the journey to Leeds, McIlroy has had a busy week off the course.

He was in the stands last Friday to see Ulster's defeat by Munster, before heading back over to England the next day to take in the Manchester United v Spurs game.

“I've also had a three practice sessions in my new indoor facility, so I've been keeping myself pretty busy,” he said.

Meanwhile, McIlroy's Ryder Cup-winning team-mate, Martin

Kaymer, has revealed he will not be taking up US Tour membership. The German's manager, Johann Elliott, confirmed Kaymer's intentions on the eve of this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

“Martin is almost certain to follow Lee Westwood and not take up US Tour membership next year,” said Elliott. “He just feels that joining the US Tour would be too much work and give him no freedom in his schedule.

“You have to play your 15 events and, with everything else that he wants to play, that would mean playing 30 tournaments.”

Kaymer owns a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, while he also has an American-born girlfriend, but, as Elliott also stressed, the US is not Kaymer's home.

“Martin doesn’t regard America as his home and he just uses the house to live in when he’s practising there in the winter months,” Elliott added.

McIlroy joins Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington in Shanghai, with McDowell playing the opening two rounds in the company of the now world No 2 Tiger Woods.

Woods, who is making his fourth appearance in the $7m event, has captured no less tha n 16 WGC events, but never the Shanghai-based tournament, which was elevated to World Golf Championship status just last year.

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