Open champion Rory McIlroy has admitted defeat in his battle to overcome an ankle injury in time to defend his title at St Andrews next week.
Read more: Rory absence would be Major let-down
McIlroy, 26, was left on crutches and in a protective boot after he ruptured ligaments in his left leg when playing football with friends at the weekend. The setback increases the risk that McIlroy could lose his world No1 status to American Jordan Spieth, who has won the year’s first two Majors, the Masters and US Open.
“After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St Andrews,” he wrote on social media yesterday.
“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 per cent healthy and 100 per cent competitive.”
Four-time Major winner McIlroy had already cancelled his participation in the Scottish Open, which starts at Gullane today.
The Northern Irishman now faces a race to be fit for next month’s US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, as ruptured ankle ligaments can take as long as 12 weeks to heal.
World No2 Spieth became the first man for 93 years to win multiple Majors before his 22nd birthday when he won the US Open last month to follow Masters success in April.