The rib injury that marred his 2017 golf season is fine, but Rory McIlroy revealed Friday that he learned of another health issue -- a heart irregularity.
McIlroy, 28, disclosed the problem during an interview with The (London) Telegraph in Dubai, where he has been preparing for his return to competition after a nearly fourth-month break.
"The rib's fine, no problems whatsoever -- I had an MRI scan on my thoracic spin and all was OK,'' McIlroy told the newspaper. "But I've got a bit of an irregularity with my heart that I have to keep on top of.
"I have a flat T-wave and I'll have to get an echo [cardiogram] on my heart every six months and MRI scan every year.
"I suffered a really bad viral infection in China 18 months ago, and they told me that's the reason that I have this thickening of my left ventricle and there's a bit of scar tissue. For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit. Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway.''
McIlroy took to social media later Friday and said the heart issue was "really not that big of a deal and nothing to worry about, apart from getting an annual check up, like you should do anyway."
"I feel there's been a big reaction to it in the media which there really shouldn't be," McIlroy wrote in an Instagram post. "I'm fit and healthy and can't wait to get my 2018 season started in Abu Dhabi next week."
McIlroy is coming off a tough year in which he dropped from No. 2 in the world to No. 11 and failed to win.
That was after winning the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup in 2016 and starting the year with a playoff loss in South Africa. But that's where the injury woes began, a fractured rib that was diagnosed the day after that tournament. McIlroy skipped four scheduled starts and didn't return until March.
Then, after taking a break to get married in April, McIlroy said he overdid it in his preparation for the Players Championship, the injury flaring again.
"I shouldn't have played the U.S. Open,'' said McIlroy, who missed the cut. "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.' The season just went on, had a bit of a chance at The Open, but, I really needed these 3 ½ months of just me and team and family. Mentally more than physically probably.''
After failing to make it to the Tour Championship, McIlroy played twice more in Europe before shutting it down in early October to regroup.
The four-time major champion is scheduled to make his season debut next week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, followed by the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
He has a heavy schedule leading up to the Masters, including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Genesis Open, Honda Classic, Valspar Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Dell Technologies Match Play.