Rory McIlroy withdraws from Scottish Open with ankle ligament rupture
World number one looks set to also miss British Open after rupturing ligaments
Rory McIlroy is almost certain to miss the British Open after rupturing ankle ligaments. Photograph: PA
Defending champion Rory McIlroy is a major doubt for next week’s Open Championship after suffering a serious ankle injury playing football.
The European Tour has confirmed McIlroy has withdrawn from this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open after the world number one revealed he suffered a “total rupture” of a ligament during a “kickabout” with friends on Saturday.
The 26-year-old posted the news of the injury on his Instagram account with an accompanying photograph showing him on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
The Northern Irishman is still to be fully assessed and has not yet ruled himself out of the Open at St Andrews, which begins on July 16, but his participation must be in jeopardy.
McIlroy was due to play at the Scottish Open at Gullane, which begins on Thursday, to prepare for the Open but he no longer appears on the entry list. The European Tour has confirmed he has pulled out.
McIlroy wrote: “Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday. Continuing to asses extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started..... Working hard to get back as soon as I can.”
McIlroy, who won the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool last year, was the favourite for St Andrews and much had been made of a potential rivalry with Jordan Spieth, winner of the year’s first two majors.
A spokesman for the player said McIlroy had not yet ruled out competing but it is understood he will undergo further scans in the coming days. A full prognosis will become clear in due course.
Recovery from such injuries in athletes, if as severe as McIlroy has suggested, take months or even require surgery. The fact the injury is to the left ankle is also significant for a right-handed player as that joint bears most of the pressure through the swing.
European Tour professional Richie Ramsay tweeted: “I had a full tear of ligaments in my ankle not long ago. It takes a lot longer than you think to heal. 3 months til I played after tearing ligaments and even then getting my foot to work the right way was tough.”
Should McIlroy be sidelined and be out of action for more than a month, he could also be doubtful for next month’s US PGA Championship, the year’s final major and another title he currently holds.
Paul McGinley, McIlroy’s captain at last year’s Ryder Cup, heard the news as he visited Wimbledon on Monday and expressed disappointment at the prospect of him not featuring at St Andrews next week.
McGinley said: “I’m sure he’ll be very disappointed. I’d like to find out a little bit more because sometimes these injuries can settle down very quickly. But it’ll be a blow not just for Rory but a blow for the game as a whole.
“He’s performed very well in the two majors so far this year. I know Jordan has taken all the plaudits in terms of winning but two top-10 finishes for Rory in the majors is a pretty good effort.
“I know St Andrews is a golf course he really loves and a golf course that really suits his game. It’s a shame, a shame for the tournament and a shame for Rory if that’s the case.”
McIlroy’s form heading into the Open had been reasonable, if not spectacular. In terms of the majors he finished four strokes behind Spieth at the Masters in April and five shots off the pace at the US Open at Chambers Bay last month.
Former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance was taken by surprise by the news as he arrived at Wimbledon to watch the day’s action.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it but I’m in complete shock: that’s a big blow to (the Open) if he misses it,” Torrance told Press Association Sport.
“That’s obviously bad news and I’d just wish him all the best and hope he can make a quick recovery.”