McIlroy ruptures ligament in left ankle playing soccer
Rory McIlroy was on crutches Monday with an ankle injury from playing soccer, leaving in doubt the prospects of golf ’s No. 1 player defending his British Open title next week at St. Andrews.
Just as excitement was building toward a potential clash at the Old Course between McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, McIlroy posted a jarring photo on Instagram showing him on crutches with a walking boot on this left ankle. The 26year-old from Northern Ireland said it was a “total rupture” of an ankle ligament and the joint capsule that happened while he was playing soccer with friends.
Sean O’Flaherty, his chief spokesman, said McIlroy has withdrawn from the Scottish Open this week at Gullane. O’Flaherty said they would not know until later in the week the extent of the injury and whether McIlroy would be able to tee it up July 16 at St. Andrews.
Ben Hogan in 1954 was the last British Open champion who did not play the following year.
McIlroy had been the joint favourite along with Spieth. They have won the last four majors — the first time in nearly a century that two players in their 20s have shared four successive majors — and Spieth is headed to St. Andrews as only the fourth player with a chance at the Grand Slam.
Players were shocked to hear the news.
“Unlucky, obviously,” Luke Donald said in a telephone inter- view. “I would never say, ’Don’t play football or don’t do these thing.’ You don’t want to live in a bubble. It’s just unlucky timing, especially this time of the year. Golf is exciting with Rory and Jordan. It’s added a bit of spice to the game. It’s a shame if Rory were to miss the Open, which it looks like he might.”
Sergio Garcia, a runner-up to McIlroy at Royal Liverpool last year, tweeted, “So sad to hear about â†•Rory McIlroy injury on his ankle. We will all miss you â†•TheOpen next week my friend. Fast and healthy recovery.”
McIlroy referred to his ATFL, which is the anterior talofibular ligament and the one most commonly sprained. The left ankle is crucial in a golf swing as weight transfers to that side of the body ( for right-handers) in generating power.
“That’s a big blow to the Open if he misses it,” former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance said from Wimbledon.
McIlroy won the Open last year at Royal Liverpool by going wire-to-wire and taking a sixshot lead into the final round. He also won the PGA Championship.