Rory McIlroy withdraws from Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: ‘It’s bitterly disappointing’

A sustained rib injury suffered last week in South Africa had put the status of the world No 2 in doubt leading up to the weekend.

Rory McIlroy reacts to a shot at the  BMW South African Open Championship on January 15, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Warren Little / Getty Images
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World No 2 Rory McIlroy has been forced to withdraw from this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after tests revealed he had sustained a rib injury.

The four-time major winner, the highest-ranked player in the field and thus the tournament’s biggest draw, underwent extensive clinical examinations in Dubai on Monday after picking up the injury at the South African Open. McIlroy lost that event, his first of 2017, to Graeme Storm in a play-off on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman, 27, will now begin rehabilitation and will return to golf when he is fully recovered from the stress fracture. He was scheduled to play next month’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, however it is not yet known whether he will be fit in time for the February 2-5 event. His victory there in 2009 was his first as a professional, while he won again at Emirates Golf Club in 2015.

“It’s bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” said McIlroy, who has finished runner-up in the capital four times in his past seven appearances. “I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour thanks to the incredible support of HSBC and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week.

“In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered.”

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said on behalf of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Committee: "We wish Rory all the best with his rehabilitation and look forward to seeing him back on the fairways as soon as possible."​

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