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Rory McIlroy has revealed the extent of the lower back injury that has sparked fears among European golf fans with the Ryder Cup looming large.

McIlroy did not play any practice holes before the Tour Championship and there was concern at East Lake when it had emerged the Northern Irishman was nursing a back issue.

The world No.2 was in clear discomfort when teeing it up alongside Jon Rahm in round one, but battled valiantly to shoot a first round 70 in the PGA Tour‘s money-spinning season finale in Atlanta.

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And McIlroy somewhat allayed such fears in the European camp ahead of next month’s showdown at Marco Simone when addressing his fitness levels.

“On Tuesday morning I felt a little tight and I went into my gym at home,” he said. “I went to grab something and my whole right side just completely seized up, spasm.

“So I spent two hours with the physio at home, flew up here, felt a little better, had some treatment, then on Wednesday morning my right side was feeling better. I went into the gym just to do some movements and stuff.

I was at the bottom of a squat, a body-weight squat, and my whole lower back spasmed, seized up. I couldn’t move. I honestly couldn’t address the ball this time yesterday. So to get to where I am today is good.

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“I hung in there and I just felt like if I could get through today, it’s better than it was yesterday, hopefully tomorrow’s better than it was today and just sort of try to keep progressing.”

McIlroy, who only hit 20 wedge shots before his opening round, is still finely poised to win his fourth FedEx Cup, sitting three shots behind Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley and Viktor Hovland at seven-under-par.

He admitted he is “over the moon” with his position in the tournament after slipping to five-under midway through his battling round.

Scottie Scheffer had led the $75m handicapped event, but is now one back from the trio of leaders, with Morikawa surging into the joint lead from nowhere with his nine-under 61.

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