SHANGHAI • A club sandwich could derail Rory McIlroy's much-anticipated showdown with Jordan Spieth and a stellar field at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China beginning today.
Race to Dubai leader McIlroy had stomach pains, which forced him to miss a colourful tournament launch event on Tuesday, and, despite being seen on the practice green early yesterday, he pulled out of his 10.45am pro-am tee time.
"I'm not feeling great to be honest," he said before retiring to his hotel room. "I had something (to eat) a couple of nights ago and yesterday wasn't good at all.
"I thought I would be better this morning... and I tried to hit some balls, but even just making a couple of swings, my stomach was too sore. So I just need another day of rest and hopefully I will be better tomorrow and I can play."
The Northern Irishman had tweeted a picture on Tuesday night of part of a room service menu which had Club Sandwich and Japanese Baked Eel Set listed.
"Who would have thought the eel would be the safer bet!?" he posted.
The world No. 3 tees off in the first round today alongside two Americans, world No. 5 Rickie Fowler and big-hitting, eighth- ranked Dustin Johnson.
McIlroy has endured an injury-wrecked year after tearing ankle ligaments playing football, which caused him to miss the British Open in July where he was the defending champion.
He showed glimpses of being close to his best at last week's Turkish Airlines Open, where he was joint sixth, giving him high hopes of adding a second WGC title this year to the WGC-Cadillac Matchplay he won in May.
World No. 2 and this year's double Major champion Jordan Spieth will start as the favourite when he tees off alongside the defending champion, fourth- ranked Bubba Watson, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, the world No. 7, at 9.45am at Sheshan Golf Club.
Spieth, 22, has not played competitive golf since the Presidents Cup in South Korea a month ago.
He said that the break had done him good at the end of an amazing season, when he won the Masters, US Open and FedExCup and amassed 15 top-10 finishes and a staggering US$22 million (S$30.8 million) in prize money.
"I've had a few weeks off, and didn't touch a club for a couple of weeks after the Presidents Cup," he said.
"I was able to get some rest and this being a World Golf Championships event, it's one I certainly want to bring my best game to. My energy level is high, I'm good to go."
Day 1: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, 11am