(REUTERS) - World number two Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from the Abu Dhabi Championship after tests on Monday (Jan 16) showed he picked up a rib injury in South Africa last week, the European Tour said.
The Northern Irishman had intense physiotherapy treatment and took pain-killers over the weekend at the South Africa Open after struggling through much of Friday's second round.
The four-time major champion, who lost to Englishman Graeme Storm on the third playoff hole at Glendower Golf Club, will start a rehabilitation programme for the stress fracture.
"To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week," McIlroy said in a European Tour statement.
"In situations like this, you simply have to listen to the experts and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered."
The Abu Dhabi event, the first on the European Tour's Desert Swing, includes three 2016 major winners - Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson - plus holder Rickie Fowler.