Sunday 19 November 2017

McIlroy to team up with Westwood's fitness guru

Bernie McGuire in Shanghai

Rory McIlroy is hopeful he can keep his back injury woes in check when he teams up with the renowned physio behind Lee Westwood's rise to world No 1.

Before heading to Shanghai for this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event, McIlroy travelled to Leeds to meet with Dr Steve McGregor, who has helped Westwood shed almost three stone over the last four years.

McGregor has a PhD in sports medicine and has worked with a number of leading English football clubs, including Leeds United, Aston Villa and Birmingham City.

He has come to prominence in golf through his work with Westwood.


The 37-year-old McGregor continues to oversee Westwood's recovery from a nagging calf muscle injury that again sidelined the Englishman ahead of his return for this week's event in Shanghai.

McGregor also put Westwood on a workout routine that's seen the new world No 1 reduce his body fat by almost half.

While Westwood initially went to McGregor because he felt he was overweight, McIlroy is aiming to strengthen his body so he does not suffer a recurrence of the back injury he sustained earlier in the year.

"I've worked with a physio before, but no one of Steve's calibre and experience," said McIlroy. "When I met him last week, we discussed the injury I had this year.

"I know from Steve's work with Lee how beneficial he can be in building up my body and if my work with him makes a fraction of a difference, then it will be worth it."

Aside from the journey to Leeds, McIlroy has had a busy week off the course. He was in the stands last Friday to see Ulster's defeat to Munster, before heading back over to England the next day to take in the Manchester United v Spurs game.

"I've also had a three practice sessions in my new indoor facility, so I've been keeping myself pretty busy," he said.

Meanwhile, McIlroy's Ryder Cup-winning team-mate Martin Kaymer has revealed he will not be taking up US Tour membership. The German's manager, Johann Elliott, confirmed Kaymer's intentions.

"Martin is almost certain to follow Lee Westwood and not take up US Tour membership next year," said Elliott. "He just feels that joining the US Tour would be too much work and give him no freedom in his schedule.

"You have to play your 15 events and, with everything else that he wants to play, that would mean playing 30 tournaments."

Kaymer owns a house in Scottsdale, Arizona, while he also has an American-born girlfriend but, as Elliott also stressed, the US is not Kaymer's home.

"Martin doesn't regard America as his home and he just uses the house to live in when is practising there in the winter months," Elliott added.

McIlroy joins Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington in Shanghai, with McDowell playing the opening two rounds in the company of the now world No 2 Tiger Woods.

Woods, who is making his fourth appearance in the $7m event, has captured 16 WGC events, but never the Shanghai-based tournament.

WGC-HSBC Champions,

Sky Sports 1, 9.0am

Irish Independent

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