Rory McIlroy has announced he will take a three-month break from golf at the end of the year in an effort to return to full fitness in 2018.

The 28-year-old has failed to win any events this year after being hampered by a rib injury and wants to seize the rare chance of a having an extended break to recover.

The Ulsterman, who in August parted ways with JP Fitzgerald, his caddie of nine years, said he will take part in a maximum of five tournaments between now and the end of the year.

"To have three months I can focus on myself, my health, my game, and just improvement, I don't think I'm ever going to get a chance like this in my career again, where I get this opportunity to re-evaluate things, work on some stuff and just try and improve and get better," he was quoted as saying by the Independent.

The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the start of October will be McIlroy's final event of the year and the Northern Irishman, who aims to play all four of FedExCup play-off events prior to that, will then concentrate on getting back to full fitness.

"I feel it's a tremendous opportunity to improve as a golfer and with my health and everything," he added. "I'm excited to play these next few weeks but I've already sat down with my team and we have a three-month plan going forward. I'm getting a lot of testing and assessments done 19th and 20th October and then [...] we'll be focusing on getting me in [the] best possible shape with my body and game going into 2018."

Since winning The Open and the PGA Championship in 2004, McIlroy has not won any of the sport's four majors and this year's tied-fourth place finish at The Open was the first time he made the top four in a major since 2015.

However, the four-time major champion believes a prolonged hiatus will be beneficial to his chances of success in 2018. "[I will] start to hit balls the end of November and then work on some technical stuff and when we get to January hit the ground running and hopefully have an injury free, stress free, very successful year," said McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has endured a poor year having yet to win an event. Reuters