Health factor worrying R-Mac

Rory McIlroy is anxiously awaiting the results of blood tests just days ahead of this weeks crucial ‘Battle of Dubai’.

Rory McIlroy is anxiously awaiting the results of blood tests just days ahead of this weekend’s crucial ‘Battle of Dubai’.

McIlroy won the UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday to give himself an outside chance of winning the season-long Race To Dubai at this week’s European Tour finale, the Dubai World Championship, but to complete the assignment, he needs to win on Sunday and hope that the current runaway leader of the Race, World No 1 Luke Donald, finishes outside the top nine.

That in itself is a tall order, especially as Donald is bidding to become the first golfer to earn the most prize money on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year and can be expected to come out with all guns blazing, but complicating McIlroy’s Herculean task even more is the fact that he may not have fully recovered from a virus infection that had seriously lowered his white blood cell count and caused him to feel weak and listless.

The 22-year-old went to see a doctor on arrival his in the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai World Championship and is hoping that the blood test will show that he is close to being fully healthy again and able to take on Europe’s best this weekend

“I won’t get the results back until later on this week,” the Northern Ireland winner of this year’s US Open told the media on Tuesday.

“I picked up a virus recently and my white blood cell count was very low, so the tests were to see if it’s back up again.”

That McIlroy, the World No 2, is feeling run down is hardly surprising.

He has been going at it on the golf course 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 it my best shot. 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, has made it clear that his participation there would very much depend on the state of his health.

Asked if he might have pulled out this week if it had not been such a big event in terms of prize money, world ranking and Ryder Cup points, he replied, “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.