By: Team Sport Nation 2 weeks ago

Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke has spoken in defence of his fellow countryman Rory McIlroy, suggesting that the 28-year-old will return to top form in 2018. McIlroy has experienced huge challenges over the course of the last year, including fitness issues and an ongoing winless streak.

After a decade of top level golf, Rory McIlroy has picked up plenty of accolades. The four-time major winner is one of the most successful golfers of his generation; however, 2017 has left something of a black mark on McIlroy’s otherwise glittering career.

McIlroy’s problems began in January when he suffered a rib injury, and the 28-year-old is now in danger of going a full year without a victory for the first time since 2008.

Speaking to The National, Darren Clarke said of McIlroy’s season: “To try and play through an injury that’s niggling away, it restricts you, It’s a difficult thing.

“Then he had a limited playing schedule early because of his injury, didn’t get into any real flow and, when he did play, he pushed himself too hard.

“It never gave him any chance to get any real momentum this year and momentum is huge whenever you’re up at that standard of golf.

“But Rory is the most talented player in the world, so he’ll be fine. He’ll go see all the right people and put that injury to bed and get himself right. When he does he’ll hopefully come out firing.”

McIlroy is set to feature in the upcoming BMW Championship, which begins tomorrow (Sept 13) @ Conway Farms Golf Club.

Photos: Getty