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Monday 16 October 2017

Rory ruled out with rib injury

Rory McIlroy has been forced to pull out of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Pic: Getty Images
Rory McIlroy has been forced to pull out of this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Pic: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has been forced to withdraw from this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a rib injury.

The Northern Irishman played through the pain in losing a play-off to Graeme Storm at the BMW SA Open on Sunday, having said on Friday morning he had considered pulling out of the event due to the problem.

He underwent a scan yesterday and has been diagnosed with a stress fracture to a rib.

No timetable has been given for his return, but the European Tour announced he would miss this week's event in Abu Dhabi.

McIlroy said in a statement: "It's bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw. I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour.

"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."

He played in Johannesburg with his back taped up while taking anti-inflammatories.

The break will give McIlroy plenty of time to reflect on his loss to journeyman pro Storm.

Only he can say how much the injury affected his game, McIlroy got himself into contention and then the lead in the closing stages, and knows he could have got the job done.

On the plus side, considering this was his first competitive outing after the holidays, McIlroy can take many positives into the next phase of his build up to the US Masters. He played well, he was competitive, and except for a few wayward swings that put his ball into rough, McIlroy's game looked quite solid.

However, Storm had not won since 2007 and effectively lost his card at the end of 2016, only to get a reprieve when Patrick Reed fell short of the requisite number of European Tour events to affect the rankings.

So it's to his credit that he held his nerve to edge McIlroy out and claim a prestigious tournament title.

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