Rory McIlroy’s bid to end the year as European golf’s top earner is under threat – from a virus.

The world number two can win the European Order of Merit title when he goes head to head with England’s Luke Donald in Dubai this week.

Fresh from his victory at the Hong Kong Open on Sunday, McIlroy can overtake Donald, top of the world rankings, if he wins in the Middle East.

The 22-year-old Ulsterman is struggling with a mystery virus however and is currently awaiting the results of blood tests taken on his arrival in Dubai on Monday.



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“I won’t get the results back until later on this week. I picked up a virus and my white blood cell count was very low, so the tests were to see if it’s back up again,” revealed McIlroy on Tuesday.

“I’m not energy-wise where I want to be, but I took a day off on Monday and took it easy. I’m going to play the pro-am and practise and I’ll probably take another day off on Wednesday - maybe hit a few balls.
“I’ll really try and conserve my energy and focus it all into the four tournament days. I’m not 100%, but I’m still able to go out and play 18 holes and try and give it my all.

McIlroy needs to win and for Donald to finish outside the top nine to be crowned number one for the season.

He added: “I’ve still got a slim chance of trying to win the ‘Race to Dubai’. It’s going to be a tough ask, but I’ll give my best and it would be great to finish the year on a high.”