Injury rules holder McIlroy out of British Open

Wed Jul 8, 2015 1:36pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy will not defend his British Open title at St Andrews next week after announcing on Wednesday he did not want to risk further damage to the ankle ligaments he ruptured playing football last weekend.

The world number one's presence at the spiritual home of golf had looked extremely doubtful after he suffered the injury in a kickabout with friends and posted a picture of himself wearing a protective plastic boot and his withdrawal was duly confirmed on his Instagram account.

"After much consideration I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews," the Northern Irishman wrote.

"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 percent healthy and 100 percent competitive."

McIlroy's potential showdown with double major winner Jordan Spieth was expected to be the highlight of the Open but the American will now start the tournament as the favourite.

Spieth is one of several players who have come to McIlroy's defence after the usual social media "storm" questioning the wisdom of him playing football on an astroturf pitch so close to the Open.

Spieth said this week that he happily plays basketball with his caddie and also revealed a near miss on a fishing trip after he won the US Open last month when a shark took a tuna he was trying to reel in and almost pulled him overboard.

Phil Mickelson, speaking ahead of the Scottish Open which begins on Thursday, said he missed the 1994 Masters after breaking his leg in a skiing accident.   Continued...

Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Rory McIlroy waves to the crowd after putting on the 18th green in the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports