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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020
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Virus hits Rory McIlroy's Race to Dubai showdown preparations

Irish golfer says he’ll play on for big prize despite health concerns.

Image: Vincent Yu/AP/Press Association Images

IT’S A BIG week for Rory McIlroy.

But the Holywood star goes into his European Tour showdown with world No 1, Luke Donald, with some health concerns.

The US Open champion ensured there was plenty at stake in this week’s event by winning in Hong Kong in dramatic fashion on Sunday.

Now he can catch Donald in the European Order of Merit by winning the Dubai World Championship and hoping the Englishman is down the leaderboard.

But the 22-year-old’s preparations have been hampered by ill health, he revealed today, having contracted a virus in recent weeks.

“I won’t get the results back until later on this week,” he told the European Tour website, “I picked up a virus and my white blood cell count was very low, so the tests were to see if it’s back up again.”

“I’m not energy-wise where I want to be, but I took a day off yesterday and took it easy. I’m going to play the pro-am today and practise and I’ll probably take another day off tomorrow – maybe hit a few balls.

“I’ll really try and conserve my energy and focus it all into the four tournament days. I’m not 100%, but I’m still able to go out and play 18 holes and try and give it my all,” he added.

Despite the illness, McIlroy insists he is up for one final charge – after a hectic few months on tour.

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“I’m excited,” he said,  “There’s a lot to play for.  I’ve still got a slim chance of trying to win The Race to Dubai, and so it’s nice to just have that coming to the quick.

“I’ve got to win and Luke has to finish outside the top nine or 10, whatever it is.  I’m really not counting on him to do that because he’s only finished outside the top 10 about twice this year.  So it’s going to be a tough ask but I’ll give my best and it would be great to finish the year on a high.”

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