FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a tee shot during the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Rory McIlroy turned in a third-round 67, to play a
Ng Han Guan, file
January 24, 2017

Rory McIlroy is targeting the Mexico Championship in March as his return to tournament action from injury.

McIlroy aggravated a rib stress fracture while finishing runner-up at the SA Open in Gauteng two weekends ago. Those injuries typically take about six weeks to heal, and he believes he'll be ready to play again in the first World Golf Championship of the year, from March 2-5.

''I feel like I can maybe get back before that, but if I were to play (the) Honda (Classic) and then go straight to Mexico, I'd be playing two weeks in a row. I'd like to ease my way back in gently,'' he said on Tuesday.

He said the Mexico Championship in Mexico City was ideal because there was no cut.

''I can see how everything feels, and I have a week off after that,'' he told The Clubhouse golf podcast.

McIlroy, the world No. 2, has already missed the Abu Dhabi Championship, and pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic next week. The injury means he will also miss the Genesis Open in California and Honda in Florida next month.

He put the rib injury down to an extra-busy offseason, when he hit a lot of balls to make a swing change and test drivers.

''My muscle just said, `We've worked hard, and we don't want to work hard anymore,''' McIlroy said. ''I didn't imagine hitting so many balls would lead to this.''

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