ABU DHABI, UAE | He’s back. After 104 days Rory McIlroy is about to play competitive golf. Again. To the Northern Irishman who has won four major championships, but not one since August 2014, the game should say: Welcome. Good to have you back.
Actually, it is stretching a point to say he is back because we have no idea how he is going to play in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the Middle East. It would be more precise to say he is here, competing in a golf tournament for the first time since October, since when he has added two kilos of muscle and is looking, well, ripped. McIlroy is raring to go in a year that contains a Ryder Cup and his fourth chance in as many attempts to become the sixth man to complete the modern career Grand Slam, in his case by winning The Masters.
Things always seemed to happen to Nick Faldo, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Things happen to Rory, too, whether it’s ending an engagement, changing his equipment, buying or selling houses in Florida and Northern Ireland, changing managers, getting married, doing too much or not enough work in the gym, injuring his ribs, having heart scares.
Heart scares? A fit young man of 28? Yes. During a routine medical last April it was discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat as a result of which he says he has to have an echocardiogram on his heart every six months and a MRI scan every year. McIlroy also found what newly marrieds often find out, namely that he was eating more than he should.
“I did a lot of blood profiles (last year) and, like, my Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio wasn’t great so I’ve been taking about six fish oil tablets a day for the last six months and trying to get that ratio in check. That sort of stuff and eating better.”
“I’ve been unrestricted (in my recent practice)” McIlroy continued. “I’ve done what I’ve needed to do and I feel like I’ve put in the body of work so that I feel ready, ready to challenge.”