Golfing superstar Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Abu Dhabi Championship because of a stress fracture in his ribs.
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McIlroy Out for Abu Dhabi Championship
Monday, Jan. 16
"It's bitterly disappointing. I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament," McIlroy said, per BBC Sport. "To be forced to miss it is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week."
The injury has to be a major disappointment for McIlroy, 27, who lost a chunk of the 2015 season because of injury. That allowed Jordan Spieth and Jason Day to have career years and emerge as the top golfers in the game during the 2015 season.
McIlroy got off to a rough start to 2016 before rebounding late, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship on his way to taking home the FedEx Cup. He now sits behind only Day as the 2017 season begins to ramp up.
McIlroy enters the year needing just a triumph at the Masters to complete his career Grand Slam.
A healthy McIlroy remains arguably the top player in the world. The emergence of Spieth, Day and Dustin Johnson made that conversation interesting, however, and the top storyline coming into 2017 centered on the battle between them atop the golfing world.
McIlroy can win that argument only if he's able to remain healthy. McIlroy, along with the rest of the golfing world, will hope he can return to the course quickly and resume his rivalry with the young stars of the game.