Rory McIlroy has told a British newspaper that a viral infection he contracted in 2016 has left him with heart damage.
In an interview with The Telegraph published Friday, the four-time major winner said the infection came a year-and-a-half ago in China, and that it left him with “a bit of scar tissue.”
“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,” McIlroy said. “For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit. Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway.”
The news comes less than a week before McIlroy takes his first steps toward trying to put a forgetful 2017 season behind him when he tees off at the Abu Dhabi Championship, his first tournament in four months.
Battling a rib injury for much of 2017, McIlroy finished the season winless, and finally shut it down because of the injury after the BMW Championship in mid-September.
The 28-year-old told The Telegraph an echocardiogram every six months and annual MRI scan will now be part of his health routine because of the scar tissue.
For now, though, he is focused on getting back to a more familiar position on leaderboards.
“It’s nice to be world No. 1, sure, and I will get back there, but it’s all about winning tournaments,” he said. “And I will give myself the best chances this season.”
–Field Level Media