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PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy reveals heart condition caused by China virus scare

Former world No 1 golfer says he has to ‘stay on top’ of the issue with medical check-ups every six months after 2016 infection

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 2:20pm

Rory McIlroy said a viral infection he contracted 18 months ago in China has led to damage to his heart.

The four-time major winner revealed the heart “irregularity” in an interview with a British newspaper published on Friday.

Doctors told McIlroy the illness he came down with resulted in the thickening of his left ventricle and he told The Daily Telegraph “there’s a bit of scar tissue”.

“For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit,” McIlroy said. “Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway.”

McIlroy, 28, was plagued by rib and back issues in 2017, which led him to shut down his season after the BMW Championship in September.

He is slated to return to competitive golf at next week’s Abu Dhabi Championship, and plans to play eight events before the Masters, his most ambitious schedule ahead of Augusta National in the 10 years he has been eligible.

“The rib’s fine, no problems whatsoever – I had an MRI scan on my thoracic spine and all was OK,” McIlroy said.

As far as the heart condition, McIlroy said he will have to undergo an echocardiogram every six months and an MRI annually.

He played down the issue in an Instagram post on Saturday.

A post shared by RORY (@rorymcilroy) on Jan 12, 2018 at 7:30pm PST

McIlroy, who finished atop the World Golf Rankings in 2012 and 2014, begins the season at No 11.

He did not record a tournament win in 2017, the first time that has happened since he was a second-year pro in 2008.

“I don’t judge it like that,” McIlroy added in the newspaper interview. “I don’t care about the world rankings. I think about number of wins, the ability of the players against me, the number of majors the others have.

“I don’t feel I need to compare myself to anyone else, because I know what I can do. I’m not hung up on it.”