The rollercoaster that constitutes Rory McIlroy’s 2015 has taken another dip in China, with the Northern Irishman confined to bed with food poisoning before the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament.
McIlroy was absent from the pre-tournament photocall on Tuesday evening but had planned to tee up in the pro-am a day later. McIlroy could make it no further than the practice ground, owing to stomach pain attributed to a rogue club sandwich.
“I had something from room service a couple of nights ago and yesterday wasn’t good at all,” McIlroy explained. “I thought I would have been better this morning.
“I managed a piece of toast and a couple of bits of melon at breakfast. Even just making a couple of swings, my stomach was too sore to hit another shot. I was thinking of even going out to play nine holes but I think that would do me more harm than good.”
McIlroy remains confident of turning out in a tournament he missed last year because of necessary preparations for a court case with his former management team. “I will just have another day of rest,” he added. “Hopefully I will be better tomorrow and I can play.
“I was up between 1am and 4am through the night. It [the illness] didn’t start until four in the morning the night before, so it hasn’t been great. The doctor has given me antibiotics, Buscopan for the abdominal pain and then some painkillers as well. I’ll be loaded up, so hopefully I will be OK.”
After a fine start, McIlroy’s year was interjected by an ankle injury which cost him the chance to defend the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The 26-year-old remains on course to retain his European Tour order of merit title but will be frustrated by the way 2015 has played out. Or, perhaps, simply by the circumstances that have contributed to that.
“I have played well any time I have been here,” he added. “I don’t think I have finished outside the top 15 [McIlroy has actually been sixth or better in four previous appearances].
“This has been a really good tournament for me. Obviously I haven’t won but I have been close. Hopefully if I can get through the first couple of days and play OK, I’ll be feeling a lot better by the weekend and I can really make a run at it.
“I played well in Turkey last week. I felt like my game was in good shape but was disappointed with how I played on Sunday; I just didn’t capitalise on any of the chances I gave myself. It was nice to be in contention again; it was nice to feel that buzz and adrenaline.
“Hopefully I can get myself in that position again this week. But most importantly, I need to get healthy first. Hopefully I can do that and then concentrate on the golf.”
Should McIlroy take his place in the field, he will find himself in the marquee group for rounds one and two alongside Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
This article was written by Ewan Murray in Shanghai, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 4th November 2015 09.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010