Rory McIlroy claims over-reaction to news of his irregular heartbeat

Rory McIlroy has played down health concerns.  Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy has played down health concerns. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy has an irregular heartbeat, which showed up in tests he’s been undertaking over the past three months, but is feeling “fit and healthy” ahead of his return to competitive action next week.

The 28-year-old revealed in an interview building up to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that the “full health MOT” he’d undergone since closing down his 2017 campaign early last October had revealed irregularities in his heartbeat but insists it is not a major cause for concern. In a post on Instagram, he said: “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. I touched upon a recent finding from a routine health and wellness check.

“Like anything, the deeper you dig the more likely you are to find something. It revealed I had a slight heartbeat irregularity called a flat or inverted T-wave. It’s really not that big of a deal and nothing to worry about, apart from getting an annual check up, like you should do anyway.

“I feel there’s been a big reaction to it in the media which there really shouldn’t be. I’m fit and healthy and can’t wait to get my 2018 season started in Abu Dhabi next week.”

McIlroy, pictured, who failed to win a tournament last season for just the second time in his professional career, faces world No.1 Dustin Johnson in his return and feels confident a niggling rib injury is no longer an issue.

“The rib’s fine, no problems whatsoever,” he added. “I had an MRI scan on my thoracic spine and all was OK. But I’ve got a bit of an irregularity with my heart that I have to keep on top of. I have a flat T-wave and I’ll have to get an echo (cardiogram) on my heart every six months and an MRI scan every year.

“I suffered a really bad viral infection in China 18 months ago and they told me that’s the reason that I have this thickening of my left ventricle and there’s a bit of scar tissue. For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit. Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway.”

On the tournament front, Englishman Chris Paisley holds a one-shot lead over home player Branden Grace heading into the final round of the BMW SA Open at Glendower Golf Club. Bidding to land his maiden European Tour win, joint-overnight leader Paisley carded a 70 to move to 15-under but has Grace breathing down his neck after the world No.30 stormed home in 31, five-under, to sign for a 66. Bradley Neil (69) is the leading Scot on three-under.

Elsewhere, Thomas Bjorn’s Team Europe trailed by a point going into the last-day singles after sharing the foursomes 3-3 with Team Asia in the third EurAsia Cup at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.