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Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

NI golfer Rory McIlroy set for back injury scan

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy fired a 73 in the final round on Sunday

Rory McIlroy will visit a Belfast specialist on Monday to discover the extent of a back injury.

The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland developed the problem after a gruelling practice schedule which has often involved eight-hour sessions.

"My back has been bothering me for a few days so that's why I am going for a scan," said the world number seven.

"I'm strapped pretty good. I've had the problem for a while, and it's just when I undertake a lot of practice."

He added: "I've been out in the Middle-East for four weeks so I think it's just a repetitive injury and comes from hitting a lot of balls, and it just niggles a little bit."

McIlroy was still able to maintain his recent run of top-10 finishes with sixth place at the Dubai Desert Classic, which pushed the Holywood ace to a career-high world ranking.

He has taken out a US PGA Tour card for the first time this season and is set to feature at the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona next week.

But before that he will meet the specialist and undergo a scan in Leeds after travelling back from Dubai with his parents and South African-born physio Cornell Driesson.

"I want to win and didn't even put myself in a position to do that.

Rory McIlroy

After the Match Play McIlroy is set to play the Honda Classic, WGC - CA Championship at Doral, Arnold Palmer Invitational ay Bay Hill and Shell Houston Open before April's Masters at Augusta.

"It's just a build-up and it's been at me for a while, and the more the week progressed the more it troubled me," he said.

"I can still swing the club OK, but bending down and doing things like putting and picking the ball out of the cup hurts.

"The scan is precautionary and I get one every year and I will be fine for the Match Play. I just need to give it some rest."

McIlroy produced a valiant defence of his maiden title in Dubai and, although he did not appear to be troubled by the problem during Sunday's final round, his one-over-par 73 was not enough to wipe out a two-shot overnight deficit.

He noticeably did miss several short putts in a round which contained just three birdies as McIlroy finished three shots adrift of Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez, the Spaniard eventually prevailing in a thrilling three-hole play-off.

"I didn't play well," said McIlroy. "I didn't take my chances and it was just a bit of a struggle.

"I want to win and didn't even put myself in a position to do that. I didn't really get anything going."

The result, though, does mean McIlroy has finished in the top seven in eight of his last nine events dating back to August's PGA Championship.

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see also
McIlroy finishes three off lead
07 Feb 10 |  Golf
Holder McIlroy shares Dubai lead
04 Feb 10 |  Golf
McIlroy frustrated by near misses
25 Jan 10 |  Golf
McIlroy takes third in Abu Dhabi
24 Jan 10 |  Golf
McIlroy hits world ranking high
14 Dec 09 |  Golf
McIlroy wins first title in Dubai
01 Feb 09 |  Golf

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