LONDON • Golfer Rory McIlroy could miss the defence of his British Open crown after announcing on his Twitter account yesterday that he had ruptured a ligament in his left ankle.
"Total rupture of left (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kick-about with friends on Saturday," the Northern Irishman said.
"Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started... Working hard to get back as soon as I can."
He also posted a photograph on Instagram showing himself on crutches and wearing a protective boot. A spokesman later said that, despite the injury, McIlroy has not ruled himself out of defending his Open Championship title at St Andrews next week.
The 26-year-old had also been due to play in the Scottish Open at Gullane starting on Thursday to prepare for St Andrews, but the injury looks like putting him out of that.
McIlroy won his first British Open crown at Hoylake last July and then went on to bag the PGA Championship, taking his haul of Major titles to four.
He was on target for a clean sweep of all the four Majors at the Masters in April but he could place only fourth behind eventual champion Jordan Spieth.
The 21-year-old American then won again at the US Open last month and his budding rivalry with McIlroy was set to become the focal point of the Open.
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 have heard of it but I am in complete shock: That is a big blow to (the Open) if he misses it," he said. "That is obviously bad news and I would just wish him all the best and hope he can make a quick recovery."
McIlroy gave no further details about how long he expected to be sidelined but injuries such as the one he had outlined could take weeks or, in the worst cases, months to fully recover from.
Surgery may even be needed.
Should he be sidelined for more than a month, he would also be unlikely to be able to defend his PGA Championship which gets under way at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, on Aug 13.
McIlroy has injured his ankle playing football before. He suffered a similar, but less severe, problem in December 2013, after which he revealed: "I was off my ankle for about a week over New Year." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS