Two months after his now ex-management company claimed there was no danger of him suffering “burnout”, Rory McIlroy is running on fumes.
The 22-year old, who revealed that he need an intravaneous drip during his recent holiday, still has two events to play in the 10-week trip covering five countries that ISM planned for him earlier this season.
But while he remained loyal to his former manager Chubby Chandler by insisting yesterday that he “wanted to play” the nine-tournament, season-ending blitz that some have dubbed the “Wheelbarrow Tour”, it’s something he will never repeat.
“This 10-week run I have been on so far definitely hasn’t helped me be fresh for every single event,” he told European Tour radio. “But it is something that I wanted to do and something I will learn from and probably something that I won’t do again.”
For the good of his health, McIlroy will more than likely be trading in his giant wheelbarrow for a smaller model next season.
After confessing that he was almost forced to pull out of last week’s World Cup after getting sick on holiday in the Maldives - “It sort of took a little bit of energy out of me. I was on a drip for three days…” - McIlroy faded over the last few holes of his second round in the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Dropped shots at the 16th and 18th forced him to settle for a 69 and a share of the halfway lead with Spain’s Alvaro Quiros on seven under par.
But even if the world No 2 can get up for his weekend battled with the big-hitting Spaniard and win in Hong Kong, it remains to be seen if he has enough left in the tank to repeat the feat to challenge for the Dubai World Championship next week in his battle with leader Luke Donald for the lucrative Race to Dubai crown.
“My energy levels were down but then it’s the end of season, and I’m sure it’s not just me that’s feeling like this,” McIlroy told Reuters.
Not many players need to put on an intravenous drip during a two-week holiday but it’s no surprise that McIlroy ended up that way after a frantic autumn schedule.
After a two-week break following his injury hit US PGA Championship performance, McIlroy played in Switzerland and Holland, took another two weeks off and then travelled around the world after coming second to Michael Hoey in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
Following the Korea Open on the One Asia Tour, he joined Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and China’s Liang Wen-chong on a week-long publicity trek around China.
From there he played in the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda, flew from there to Turkey to spend a long weekend with his girlfriend and went on from there to China where he won the limited field Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters and took fourth place in the WGC-HSBC Champions.
His two week break with Caroline Wozniacki in the Maldives included an unscheduled trip to hospital. But he still teed it up with Graeme McDowell in the World Cup and then played a charity skins game with Ryo Ishikawa in Japan -donating his $100,000 prize money and another $100,000 of his own cash to the tsunami and earthquake appeal - before arriving in Hong Kong.
“[My energy] levels are wavering a little bit but it is just part of what we do and I have just got to play through it,” he told European Tour radio. “It’s fine. I just need to get a lot of rest in between rounds and make sure I am ready to play 18 holes.”
McIlroy’s season won’t end in Dubai as he is scheduled to compete in the Asian Tour championship in Thailand the following week and then several off course commitments before being able to put his feet up for Christmas.
“There are only a few more rounds left this season and I am going to try and give it my all in every single one of them,” he added. “It’s a hard season and that is why it is so important to take your breaks at the right time and make sure you are fresh for every event you play.
“This 10-week run I have been on so far definitely hasn’t helped me be fresh for every single event. But it is something that I wanted to do and something I will learn from and probably something that I won’t do again.
“I think maybe two or three weeks in a row is my limit and then a couple of weeks off. But you learn every year about these things and I will make sure I don’t have such a stress like this next year.
“I got sick for a few days and it was touch and go whether I was going to play in the World Cup, but I played and I felt fine. But I feel like this week it might be catching up with me again but no big deal. I will give it my all these next two days and see what happens.”
No doubt his new manager was listening attentively to every word.