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Rory struggles ahead of Dubai event

Rory McIlroy goes into his European Tour showdown with Luke Donald this week waiting for the results of blood tests.

The 22-year-old US Open champion kept the "Race to Dubai" money list battle alive by winning the Hong Kong Open on Sunday, but has been struggling with his health for some time. McIlroy went to see a doctor on arrival in the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai World Championship which starts on Thursday.

McIlroy needs to win the event, and for Donald to finish outside the top nine, to be crowned number one for the season. And he said: "I won't get the results back until later on this week. I picked up a virus and my white blood cell count was very low, so the tests were to see if it's back up again."

It is hardly surprising. McIlroy has been virtually non-stop since late September and that has included three trips to the Far East and one to Bermuda.

"I'm not energy-wise where I want to be, but I took a day off yesterday and took it easy," he added. "I'm going to play the pro-am today and practise and I'll probably take another day off tomorrow - maybe hit a few balls.

"I'll really try and conserve my energy and focus it all into the four tournament days. I'm not 100%, but I'm still able to go out and play 18 holes and try and give it my all.

"I've still got a slim chance of trying to win the 'Race to Dubai'. It's going to be a tough ask, but I'll give my best and it would be great to finish the year on a high."

Not that he is quite finished yet. McIlroy is also entered for next week's Thailand Championship, although his manager Conor Ridge says his participation there depends on his health.

Asked if he might have pulled out this week if it had not been such a big event - not just for the money list, but also the world rankings and Ryder Cup qualifying points - he said: "I'm not sure. I don't like pulling out of tournaments. I think you saw that at the PGA this year."

That was where he damaged his arm hitting against a tree root on the third hole, yet he managed all four rounds.


From Belfast Telegraph