ESPN reports that Rory McIlroy will not be returning to defend his title in the Open Championship.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, McIlroy ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing soccer on Saturday.
After injuring his ankle, Rory posted on Instagram: "Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday. Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started … Working hard to get back as soon as I can."Immediately after the injury, Sean O'Flaherty, McIlroy's spokesman, said he is definitely out of the Scottish Open, which begins Thursday at Gullane, but was still unsure whether or not he could compete in the Open Championship beginning on July 16 at St. Andrews.
On Wednesday, McIlroy once again made an announcement on Instagram, saying that the ankle injury will keep him from playing in the Open.McIlroy will be the first player since Ben Hogan in 1954 to not defend his Open Championship. The Northern Irishman played his best golf at the tournament last year, leading from start to finish, becoming only the third man in the history of golf to win three major championships before the age of 25, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Open Championship organizers were "naturally very disappointed" at McIlroy's withdrawal. Despite not being able to participate at St. Andrews, McIlroy says his recovery is going well, but wants to take a cautious approach, hence his bowing out of the major tournament. Rory says he wants to return to competition when he is fully healthy. It is not clear how much longer it will take for McIlroy to return to golf. McIlroy has had a mixed season thus far, finishing fourth at the Masters in April, and tied for ninth at last month's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Both tournaments were won by young phenom, Jordan Spieth. With McIlroy out of the tournament, Spieth will become the favorite to win his third straight major title. No single golfer has won the first three majors of the year since Ben Hogan accomplished the feat in 1953. Rory McIlroy was unable to make the cut at the Honda Championship in March, but won the World Golf Championships Match Play and the Wells Fargo Championship in May, solidifying his ranking.
It is also unclear if Rory McIlroy will be able to defend his titles at the Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, both taking place over the next five weeks. McIlroy has won four majors during his young career.
[Photo via Instagram / Rory McIlroy]