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Rory McIlroy to have MRI on back on Monday

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Rory McIlroy will have an MRI on Monday to see if there’s new damage to the same spot on his back which he injured in January in South Africa.

McIlroy showed visible discomfort on Friday, clutching quickly at his back on the first hole at TPC Sawgrass. Despite the pain, he made the cut at even-par 144 following 1-under 71.

“Yeah, I’ve been struggling with it a bit this week, sort of felt it for the first time on Sunday,” McIlroy said. “Then I’ve just sort of been managing it since. So it’s OK, it’s manageable, it’s not, obviously not a hundred percent, but it’s good enough to get myself around here for the next couple of days. I’m going for a MRI scan on Monday just to make sure it’s not serious and then I’ll see what we do from there.”

McIlroy, who sat out two months with the injury before returning at the WGC-Mexico Championship, alluded to stiffness in this spot on his back on Thursday after an opening 73, but he didn’t suggest he would get a MRI. He’ll head to Belfast on Monday for the scan.

“Look, it’s in the same area as what the injury was at the start of the year, I said over there, if that injury was an eight or a nine in terms of pain and soreness and stiffness, this is around a four or five,” said McIlroy. “So it’s, it might just be a flare-up of what happened previously and I just need to rest for a few days and it might be OK. Hopefully that’s what it shows in the scan next week.”

McIlroy isn’t the only player with back problems here at TPC Sawgrass. Danny Willett withdrew early on Friday, also citing a back injury.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.