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January 24, 2017

Rory McIlroy says he's targeting March return, likely missing Genesis Open and Honda Classic

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On Monday Rory McIlroy pulled out of his second tournament in two weeks due to a stress fracture in his lower ribs. The injury usually has a four-to-six week recovery schedule, seemingly putting McIlroy on the sidelines until March. Speaking with FOXSports' Shane Bacon on Tuesday, the four-time major winner confirmed he's targeting the WGC-Mexico Championship -- which begins on March 2 -- as a return date.

“I’d like to sort of ease my way in gently, so Mexico is the perfect time to return,” McIlroy said. “It’s four rounds, there’s no cut, I can see how everything feels. I have a week off after that, so Mexico, all signs point toward Mexico being the one where I could come back to and be 100 percent comfortable at. Hopefully it works out that way.”

Oddly enough, McIlroy said the ailment didn't come from the South African Open -- where he lost in a playoff -- but during equipment testing at the end of December.

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“I think the combination of trying to make that small tweak in my swing and obviously hitting a lot of balls," McIlroy remarked, "and hitting a lot of drivers as well, making a lot of hard swings testing drivers."

The March return means McIlroy would miss scheduled appearances at the Genesis Open at Riviera and the Honda Classic at PGA National. But given the 27 year old's current condition, it sounds like McIlroy is in no shape to play.

“I can’t even run at the minute because if my feet hit the ground hard at all, the vibration in my rib cage sort of hurts,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy is the reigning FedEx Cup champion and current No. 2 player in the world. The WGC-Mexico Championship will be played at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and is the former Cadillac Championship that was hosted at Doral.