Trophy-less Rory McIlroy could miss Dubai golf tournament over fitness concerns

Former world No 1 troubled with rib injury and could take rest of year off after not having won a single title in 2017.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, hits from the bunker on the 15th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Rory McIlroy could miss November’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai after conceding he may not play competitive golf again this year.

The world No 4, a three-time Race to Dubai champion, has been troubled with a rib injury since January and said following Sunday’s final round at the US PGA Championship that he might need an extended rest period to finally overcome it.

McIlroy carded a final-round 68 at Quail Hollow to finish the year’s final major in a tie for 22nd. The Northern Irishman had taken time off earlier in the season to overcome the rib issue, which first flared up during the off-season as he practiced in Dubai. He went on to miss the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before returning in March.

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“I've got this next week off to assess what I need to go forward. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said McIlroy, who said the injury has limited the amount of time he can spend on the range. “I can go out there and play and shoot decent scores, but when I come off the course I feel my left rhomboid [rhomboideus or a muscle connecting the shoulder blade to the vertebrae.] going into spasm. The inside of my left arm goes numb.

“You might not see me playing again until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time. It really depends.”

McIlroy, 28, will travel back to Belfast this week to seek medical advice. The four-time major champion’s result at Quail Hollow means he has now gone three years without claiming one of the game’s four main titles.

In fact, McIlroy has yet to win in 2017 and, if he choses to call an early end to his season, it would mark his first calendar year without winning a tournament since he registered his first professional victory at the Desert Classic in 2009. The DP World Tour Championship, the season-concluding event on the European Tour, takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.

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