McIlroy on injury wake up call that changed his career

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has revealed that he was once told how his lack of professionalism off the course could have given him grave injury problems and jeopardised his career.

McIlroy has physically transformed himself over the last decade since he burst onto the scene as the frizzy haired chubby kid in the late 2000s.

Nowadays the Holywood native is a sculpted specimen who overpowers most golf courses despite standing at just 5’9.


The 33-year-old has opened up on how his career might have ended early had he not had the importance of physical conditioning and recovery pointed out to him by a doctor.

“It got really bad at the start of the 2010,” McIlroy told Golf Digest. “I played in the Masters and missed the cut. The back really wasn’t feeling good. The doctor said to me, ‘Look, if you don’t start taking care of yourself or getting stronger, you can seriously jeopardise how long your career is’. That was a wake-up call for me.”

“You’ve got a guy that sees thousands of backs a year, and he’s telling you that if you don’t start looking after yourself that the career that you thought was going to last 30 years might only last 10. That’s a pretty scary proposition.”

Aged just 20 at the time, McIlroy was suffering from back pain and an MRI scan revealed he had a near stress fracture which could have resulted in prolonged back pain.

“The most exercise I would’ve had was probably walking 18 holes,” he admitted. “And then diet wise, I was a typical teenager: A ton of fried food, burgers, pizza, soda, not a ton of vegetables in there. Looking back on it, in a way, it was not good. But it led me down a path where I really needed to reassess what I was doing.

“In that period of about to turn pro, and then probably the first couple years as a pro, I didn’t take that side of things seriously at all. But then I realised I needed to going forward. It was a big lesson learned, and obviously that lesson has stayed with me throughout my career up until this point.”

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