Rory McIlroy planning to undergo health MOT

Rory McIlroy will subject himself to a comprehensive health MOT as he aims to make his second decade as a professional even more successful than the first.

McIlroy considered ending his injury-plagued season after a tie for 22nd in the US PGA Championship in August confirmed a third year without adding to his tally of four major titles.

The opportunity to defend his FedEx Cup title ultimately proved too much to resist, but after failing to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, McIlroy added this week’s British Masters to his schedule.

And after playing next week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his father Gerry, the 28-year-old will begin the process of trying to improve all aspects of his game ahead of a busy 2018.

“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.”

McIlroy made his debut as a professional in the British Masters 10 years ago, finishing in a tie for 42nd at The Belfry before securing his European Tour card on his next start with third place in the Dunhill Links.

He has since won more than 20 tournaments worldwide and spent a total of 95 weeks as world number one, but is far from satisfied.

“If someone had of told me at The Belfry that your first 10 years you’re going to do, X, Y and Z I would have been ecstatic, over the moon,” he added. “But because of the experiences I’ve had and the golfer that I’ve become, I feel like the next 10 years, I can be even better.

“That’s why I think these next three months are going to be very important in my career going forward with all the stuff that I want to do and all the stuff that I want to put in place.

“These three months could give me the foundation to have the next 10 years be even better than the 10 years I’ve just had. That turns a great career into one of the greatest careers.”

Plans for a busy start to 2017 were scuppered by the rib injury suffered over the winter, but McIlroy is hoping to significantly increase his number of events next year, with a first Masters title to complete the career grand slam the first target.

“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.”

McIlroy also conceded his late entry into the British Masters was influenced by the desire to avoid further accusations of receiving favourable treatment.

McIlroy has played just three regular European Tour events to date, with players required to play a minimum of five to retain membership and be eligible for the Ryder Cup.

And that meant McIlroy had little option but to accept an invitation from tournament host Lee Westwood to add the £3m (€3.4m) tournament at Close House to his schedule.

McIlroy was unable to play the required number of events in 2015 after suffering an ankle injury which forced him to miss the defence of his Open title at St Andrews.

But European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley cited “exceptional circumstances’’ in granting McIlroy permission to remain in the Race to Dubai, which he led by 1,613 points from Danny Willett.

Willett felt McIlroy had been given an unfair advantage and the Holywood man went on to win the money list title with victory in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

“I want to play Ryder Cup next year so I’ve obviously got to play my five events in Europe,” said McIlroy.

“There’s minimums and stuff like that and I’ve sort of been quite close to the edge on minimums and stuff the last few years.

“I didn’t really want to put the European Tour in another sticky position.”


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