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.
After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I’m taking a long term view of this injury and, although rehab is progressing well, I want to come back to tournament play when I feel 100% healthy and 100% competitive. Thank you for all your support and best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can…. In the mean time, come on Andy!!!
After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I’m… https://t.co/G6nYJPcD9e
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) July 8, 2015
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.
Rory McIlroy is just 3rd player in last 50 years not able to defend a major title – Woods, 2008 PGA & Payne Stewart, 2000 U.S. Open
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 8, 2015
Open Championship organizers were “naturally very disappointed” at McIlroy’s withdrawal.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 6, 2015
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.
Phil Mickelson on Rory McIlroy's soccer accident: "You can't live your life in fear."
— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) July 8, 2015
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.
Jordan Spieth I want Rory McIlroy at the Open http://t.co/8GbZSmFEG8
— ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) July 8, 2015
No surprises: Rory McIlroy officially pulls out of @theopen. Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth can't wait to add the claret jug to his collection.
— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) July 8, 2015
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 will miss The Open. He has top-10 finishes in 6 of last 7 majors contested, including top-5s in 3 of last 4
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 8, 2015
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]