McIlroy still battling rib problem

17 July 2017 08:49:42 EST

Rory McIlroy accepts that he will have to cope with ongoing issues with a rib injury when he tees off in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

The 28-year-old, who claimed the Claret Jug in 2014, has been hampered by the injury for a large part of the year and has struggled for form, having missed three cuts in his last four tournament outings.

It is good enough to play, it is good enough to practise a little bit.

Rory McIlroy

However, despite admitting that he is not in the ideal condition to try and win a fifth Major title, McIlroy is eager to be among the contenders.

He told reporters: "I am feeling okay, but it is something I am going to have to manage until the end of the year.

"It is good enough to play, it is good enough to practise a little bit. I hit balls for an hour and a half last night, but then felt stiff and said 'that’s enough'.

"I am just going to manage the load for the rest of the season, then I am just going to have a nice rest period when I don't have to touch a club and let it and heal.

"Then hopefully I'll be 100 per cent for next year. It is just something I have to be mindful of for now."

McIlroy missed out on the defence of his Open title two years ago due to ankle ligament damage, while 12 months ago he finished in a tie for fifth place, a massive 16 shots adrift of winner Henrik Stenson.

The Northern Irishman has been drawn with Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel for the first two rounds of this week's Open Championship.

He can be backed at 5/4 to be top GB & Ireland finisher and is 15/8 to be top European finisher, while the Northern Irishman is 20/1 to be crowned Open champion for a second time.

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