LONDON (AFP) - World No. 1 Rory McIlroy could miss the defence of his British Open crown after announcing on Monday on his Twitter account that he had ruptured a ligament in his left ankle.
Wrote the Northern Irishman: "Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday.
"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 for McIlroy later said that, despite the injury, he has not ruled himself out of defending his Open Championship title next week.
His showdown with American world No. 2 Jordan Spieth, who has claimed the first two Majors of the year in the US Masters and US Open, was expected to be the main highlight of the 144th Open.
While McIlroy has not ruled himself out of next week's tournament at St Andrews despite the injury, it looks very unlikely he will recover in time given the nature of the injury.
The 26-year-old McIlroy 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 ruling him out of that.
McIlroy won his first British Open crown at Hoylake last July and then went on to win the PGA Championship, taking his haul of major titles to four.