Former world number one Rory McIlroy said he is looking forward to the end of the golfing year so he can get fit after a disappointing injury-hit season.
The 28-year-old, who suffered a rib injury earlier in the season, remains without a victory so far this year, and has just two events remaining – including this week’s British Masters – to put that right.
A first-round 67 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Thursday marked a solid effort, but McIlroy admits he is not feeling 100%.
“I don’t feel like I can go out there all day and practice,” he said.
“I feel at some point, I’d have to take a bit of time to let it rest, and I can feel it sort of stiffening up and getting a little bit sore. It’s not as if I can go full bore at it like I want to.
“But hopefully by giving it that six-week or eight-week rest, I’ll be able to fully practice and prepare, and as I said at the start, not feel like I’m playing catch-up at every tournament, because I feel like I haven’t been able to do the preparation that will allow me to play my best golf.
“I’m looking forward to just getting myself right, getting myself healthy, and then being able to practice as much as I want and feel prepared going into each and every tournament, instead of feeling like I’m playing catch-up all the time.”
The four-time major winner added that he would be having a series of tests next months as part of his bid to get back to top condition.
“I’m going to Manchester on the 19th and 20th of October to do some testing, basically a full health MOT type of thing,” McIlroy said.
“There’s been a couple of times this year where my joints have been inflamed or I just haven’t quite had the energy levels and whatever. So I just want to get some food allergy stuff done and use this time to delve deeper into trying to see where I can really get better and be more disciplined.
“I would be the first one to say my diet probably hasn’t been the best over the past year and a half. You’re always eating out at restaurants and sometimes you don’t make the best choices.
“Like a dog, whatever you put in front of me, it’s going to be eaten whether I want it or not.”
McIlroy said he will increase the number of events he plays next year, with a debut Masters win the first target as he attempts to win a career grand slam.
“I think the Ryder Cup is going to be my 26th event of the year next year,” McIlroy said. “I’m looking at playing more events next year than I have done since my rookie year. I played 29 in 2008. It’s probably going to be something similar next year.
“I like to play golf. I feel like I’ve missed it this year. I’ve got a wife that loves to travel. We don’t have kids yet. It’s perfect. I want to play and the more I play, the more chances I give myself to win. So I want to take advantage of that while I can.”