Turns out Rory McIlroy's injured rib wasn't his only health concern in 2017.
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 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," McIlory told the Telegraph.
He didn't sound overly concerned about the condition, describing it as an "irregularity" that he needs to "stay on top of."
"Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway,” he said.
Despite the complications with his health, the 28-year-old is bullish about his chances of once again rising to the top of the world rankings. He's currently ranked 11th, behind fellow Europeans Sergio Garcia (10), Henrik Stenson (9), Justin Rose (6), and Jon Rahm (3).
“I don’t care about the world rankings," McIlroy said. "I don’t feel I need to compare myself to anyone else, because I know what I can do. I’m not hung up on it. Maybe before, I had to win from the front. I just don’t feel that now. I don’t fear any of them. Any one of them. I’ve beaten them before.”
It's been three years since McIlroy's double major-winning season in 2014, when he claimed both the British Open and the PGA Championship, and he is confident he can return to his winning ways.
"I need to get back on that track and this year my goals are to add to my major tally and get back to world No. 1, winning more times than anyone else," he told the Telegraph. "Let’s just say that between now and when I signed off last year, I feel way more optimistic, focused, motivated, purposeful. I know exactly what I can do.”
You can read McIlroy's full interview with the Telegraph here.