Rory McIlroy may be just 22 years old, but after playing six events in the last 11 weeks, you could tell he was running on fumes when he showed up at the season-ending European Tour event in Dubai.
Even before the week began, McIlroy was already complaining of severe fatigue from what doctors believe was a case of dengue fever, most likely contracted when the Ulsterman was in the Far East over the last three weeks.
On the verge of playing his fourth event in four weeks, McIlroy decided to pass on the chance to head to Thailand, a fifth straight tournament, and hang up the clubs for the next month. While the tournament will most likely miss him, the decision to take a break is a smart one.
"Can't wait to not have to get up and practice or hit a shot or people telling me what to do or where to go, or just have a few weeks off would be nice," McIlroy said.
"[The doctor] said don't bother getting on a flight for a few days, just completely stay in the one place for a while and just chill out."
You have to give McIlroy credit for trying to grind at the end of the season when most of the top players in the States are spending time at home. But with the European Tour pushing the final event of the season until the second week in December, it no doubt forced him to extend the season in an attempt to catch Luke Donald in the Race to Dubai.
Even though he couldn't catch Donald, he certainly pushed him to the limits ... and that's all you can ask from one of golf's rising stars. With McIlroy taking up dual membership on the PGA and European Tours next year, it'll be interesting to see how much jet-setting he does in 2012.
- Rory McIlroy