Golf | McIlroy laid low by food poisoning

Shanghai – Rory McIlory’s preparations for
this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai have been heavily disrupted by
a bout of food poisoning which has kept the Northern Irishman from the course.

The world number three missed a promotional
event on Tuesday and withdrew from Wednesday’s pro-am competition after being
unable to hit balls on the practice range.

“I’m not feeling great to be
honest,” McIlroy said. “I had something (to eat) a couple of nights
ago and yesterday wasn’t good at all.

“I thought I would be better this
morning, but I had a piece of toast and a couple of bits of melon for breakfast
and I came here and tried to hit some balls, but even just making a couple of
swings my stomach was too sore.

“I just need another day of rest and
hopefully I will be better tomorrow and I can play.

“I was up from about 1am to 4am last
night. The night before it didn’t start until about 04:00, so it hasn’t been

McIlroy, who finished tied sixth at the
Turkish Airlines Open last week, said he had been given antibiotics and
painkillers for the abdominal pain.

The four-times major winner is scheduled to
begin his opening round at 04:45 on Thursday with
American duo Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler at the $8.5 million event.

“I was thinking of trying to play nine
holes, but that would probably do me more harm than good. It would be nice to
see the golf course before tomorrow(Thursday), but I’ve played it a few times,” the
26-year-old said.

“I didn’t play last year but I know
the place well and (my caddie) JP has been out there, so it is better that I
rest and get my energy up for tomorrow(Thursday).”

McIlroy leads England’s Danny Willett,
Irishman Shane Lowry and South African Louis Oosthuizen in the European Tour’s
Race to Dubai standings with only three tournaments remaining in the season.

McIlroy will be keen to play this week in a
tournament which has yielded him good results in the past. The Northern
Irishman finishing no worse than sixth in his four appearances at the Sheshan
Golf Club.

“It has been a really, really good
tournament for me,” said McIlroy, who won the WGC-Match Play event in May
before an ankle injury forced him out of his British Open title defence in

“I’ve not won it, but I’ve been close.
Hopefully if I can get through the first couple of days and play OK, I’ll be
feeling a lot better at the weekend and I can make a run at it.”

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