McIlroy plays down injury

McIlroy wants to manage his schedule to counter back pain. (PATRICK CASTILLO)

Rory McIlroy's back has been bothering him since his amateur days, but the 20-year-old believes that with proper maintenance it should not stop him from becoming a golfing force for the long haul.

The Northern Irish youngster saw a specialist last week after his back flared up during the Dubai Desert Classic, but was cleared to play this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

McIlroy, rated one of golf's most exciting young prospects and already ranked eighth in the world less than three years after turning professional, said his back had been troubling him on and off since 2007.

"The summer before the (2007) Walker Cup it was really bad," he told reporters.

"This is fine, compared with what it used [to be like]. You know, it comes and goes. If I play a couple of weeks in a row it's fine. Play three weeks and I can feel it a little bit, and the fourth week it starts to hurt.

"So I'm trying to manage my schedule so I'm not playing too much golf and not putting too much stress on it." McIlroy described the problem as a "stress change" in two facet joints in his lower back. He insisted he would be ready to play at his best in the $8.5 million (Dhm31.1m) event at Dove Mountain.

 

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