RORY McILROY revealed that the dramatic body transformation he underwent early in his career was ‘out of necessity’.
When the Hollywood golfer broke onto the scene he was did not boast the athletic physique that he has now.
But the four-time major winner told reporters ahead of the US Open that he did so to prevent injury after a warning from his doctor.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the second major of the year, McIlroy said: “The reason that I decided to get healthier and get in the gym was that I had a herniated l4 l5 disc in my back and I had some bone edema in the vertebrae and the doctor basically said to me if you let that go on any longer that could turn into a stress fracture and that could put you out for a long time.
“It was more out of necessity than anything else so just to get stronger, build up a bit of robustness in my body, honestly make myself a little less flexible and a little stiffer.
“I had so much movement in my hips and the lower part of my spine that there was not enough stability around there to protect the joints and the discs and the vertebrae and it was basically out of necessity to do that and to get stronger and prevent injury.
“Since then I haven’t had really any back issues.”
And the world number four is hoping to win his first major since 2014 when he takes on Winged Foot, which last hosted the US Open in 2006.
That year Phil Mickelson squandered the lead coming up the 18th hole and McIlroy was asked if there will be any nightmares for Mickelson when he returns.
Asked about his experience returning to Augusta National a year after his Masters collapse, McIlroy responded.
He said: “Luckily I bounced back quickly and won the US Open at Congressional a couple of months later so I let my chances of winning a masters slip through my fingers but at least I didn’t squander my chances to win a major that year so I went into 2012 at Augusta.
“The memories that come back and the things that you would have done differently, of course, they all come back but it didn’t feel like I was there and trying to get one over on the course or trying to settle a score in any way.
“It’s different. Phil has been close in this tournament so many times and you can argue that this was his best chance and he had some other chances that were maybe just as good.
“It’s a tough one but I think Phil at 50 he’s made his peace that he may never win the tournament.
“He may, he could go out this week and blitz it but at the same time when you get to that stage in your life and your life has gone the way it has, his career, his family, everything seems to be in a good place so I’d say he’d probably made peace with what happened here 14 years ago.”
And McIlroy also revealed that he has been busy changing diapers since the birth of his newborn.
He said: “I actually changed the first two diapers, so I’m very proud of that.
“I’ve got my hands dirty, put it that way. I am just grateful that everything is good at home.
“It allows me to come here and focus on what I’m supposed to do.”
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McIlroy added that his wife, Erica, is already back running every day.
He said: “Thankfully everyone is healthy, which is obviously the most important thing.
“Erica has bounced back well. She’s back doing our four-mile runs, so tougher than I am.”