McIlroy to miss The Open after rupturing ankle ligaments
Golfer pictured in surgical boot days before The Open after being injured during football kickabout
Rory McIlroy seems destined to miss The Open at St Andrews next week after rupturing an ankle ligament during a football kickabout with friends at the weekend.
The Northern Irishman revealed the injury on Instagram on Monday morning and the news "will send shockwaves through the sport", according to James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph.
The 26-year-old posted a picture of himself wearning a surgical boot on Instagram along with a post that described his injury as a "total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage", which he picked up "in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday".
McIlroy said that his rehab was already underway and his recovery will become an obssession for golf fans, says Corrigan. "But medics have indicated that if it is indeed a total rupture then not only will he miss defending the claret jug at St Andrews, but also his USPGA title at Whispering Straits three weeks' later."
The Open begins on 12 July and the US PGA tees off on 13 August. McIlroy currently holds both titles, but may now be forced to relinquish them.
Andy Goldberg, a consultant foot and ankle specialist at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, explained to The Times that the injury was to the ligament on the outside of the ankle, and occurs when "you twist your ankle and your foot faces inwards".
He told the paper that McIlroy could expect to be out of action for at least a month.
The timing of the injury and the manner in which it came about have also raised eyebrows. "This could not have come at a worse time and the wisdom of having a kick-about is sure to be questioned," says Iain Carter of the BBC. "Clearly it was a freak accident at a time when McIlroy was relaxing ahead of the most important period of the season. The fact it is his left ankle is also problematic. This is the side he hits towards and that bears his weight through the impact and follow through."