Rory McIlroy reveals heart 'irregularity' stemming from 2016 virus in China

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"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".

The purchaser could get a golf prize from McIlroy, however, as the soda vending machine he was given after winning the 2016 Tour Championship is featured in one of the rooms.

As he prepares to return to competitive golf at the Abu Dhabi Championship next week, McIlroy revealed in in a wide-ranging interview with the Telegraph that a year and a half ago he suffered a viral infection in China, which left scar tissue and caused a thickening of his heart's left ventricle.

"I don't feel I need to compare myself to anyone else, because I know what I can do. Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway", he said.

The 28-year-old, however, says it will not stop him playing and he begins his 2018 season at the Abu Dhabi...

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

McIlroy is coming off a tough year in which he dropped from No. 2 in the world to No. 11 and failed to win.

The closest he went to success in season 2017 was finishing runner-up to fellow Irishman Paul Dunne at the British Masters while earlier in the year he lost a play-off, and revealing his rib injury for a first occasion, at the BMW SA Open and being staged again this week in South Africa. McIlroy skipped four scheduled starts and didn't return until March.

He regretted trying to play through injury at the U.S. Open and said he needed more time to recharge.

"I got injured at the Players and should have said, 'yeah, I'll miss a major, ' because I was only there to get by and you can't win a major by 'getting by'".

"Mentally more than physically probably".

The four-time major victor from Holywood, Co Down returns to the golf course next week in the Abu Dhabi Championship after a four-month break as he recovered from a rib injury.

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