Rory McIlroy tells Telegraph of heart irregularity after China virus scare

An image from the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Former world No 1 Rory McIlroy has played down fears over his health after revealing he has a "slight heartbeat irregularity", insisting he is "fit and healthy" and ready to start his season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, presented by EGA, next week.

The Irish golfer traced the condition back to a bad viral infection he had 18 months ago in China, leading to some scar tissue and the thickening of his left ventricle.

The 28-year-old, however, says it will not stop him playing and he begins his 2018 season at the Abu Dhabi... "Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway".

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"The rib's fine, no problems whatsoever - I had an MRI scan on my thoracic spine and all was OK", McIlroy told the Telegraph Friday.

The 28-year-old four-time major victor endured an injury-plagued 2017 season and said in September he would subject himself to "basically a full health MOT type of thing".

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

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Hawkins continued, saying that there hadn't been a moment where he hadn't been remorseful for what he had done. They will appear in court next week to confirm their attorneys and on January 23 for a preliminary hearing.

He's taken that time during his recent break and, having fallen to No. 11 in the Official World Golf Rankings, says he's optimistic he can return to dominant form in 2018.

The Northern Irishman finished 2017 without a win - the first time he had failed to claim a tournament in a calendar year since 2008.

"Yesterday, I did an interview with the Daily Telegraph where I spoke about a range of topics regarding the last three months of my life", McIlroy wrote. I think about number of wins, the ability of the players against me, the number of majors the others have. "I'm not hung up on it". "I knew within myself that I couldn't compete at the end of last season because I hadn't done the work beforehand, and that's because I hadn't been fit enough and if you can't practice, you can't compete".

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