Rory McIlroy: Injured rib forces withdrawal from Abu Dhabi Championship

Rory McIlroy lost to England's Graeme Storm in a play-off for the South Africa Open
Rory McIlroy lost to England's Graeme Storm in a play-off for the South Africa Open

World number two Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the Abu Dhabi Championship because of a rib injury.

The Northern Irishman had tests on Monday after complaining about back pain during the South Africa Open, in which he lost in a play-off.

McIlroy has sustained a stress fracture and must now begin a rehabilitation programme.

"It's bitterly disappointing. I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament," said the 27-year-old.

"In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts, and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered."

Following his withdrawal from the Abu Dhabi event, McIlroy's next scheduled tournament is the Dubai Desert Classic in the first week of February.

He had initially said he suspected his problem was fatigue after an off-season during which he hit a lot of balls in practice trying to decide on new equipment.

He played in Johannesburg with his back taped up and having taken anti-inflammatory tablets.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler and fellow American Dustin Johnson are among those due to play in Abu Dhabi.

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