Rory McIlroy confirms he will not play in the 144th Open at St Andrews
Last Updated: 15/07/15 7:53pm
Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will not play in the 144th Open at St Andrews next week.
The world No 1 has decided to miss the third major championship of the season after rupturing the anterior talofibular ligament in his left ankle during a weekend game of football with friends.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman initially said he was still hoping to defend his title on the Old Course but he will now focus on his rehabilitation.
McIlroy wrote on his Instagram account: "After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St Andrews.
"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.
"Thank you for all your best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can."
Tournament officials reacted to McIlroy's withdrawal from The Open by releasing a statement on their official Twitter feed.
The statement read: "We are naturally very disappointed that Rory will be unable to defend his title at St Andrews next week.
"Rory will play in many more Open Championships and our primary concern is for his complete recovery.
"Everyone associated with The Open wishes Rory the very best as he looks to return to full fitness."
McIlroy is the first player to not defend his Open title since Ben Hogan in 1954.
McIlroy did not give an estimated date for his return to action but his defence of the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in five weeks' time must also now be in serious jeopardy.
Scotland's Russell Knox, who was first reserve, replaces McIlroy in the field at St Andrews.
McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell feels that his withdrawal is a setback for all concerned - adding that he felt the Old Course would have suited McIlory down to the ground.
He said: "I was reading between the lines as to what the description of his injury was. I wasn't expecting him to play in the Open, so I'm not surprised he's pulled out. But it's a massive blow for the tournament, he's the world's number one player. We hope for a speedy recovery.
"No one would love to stop Jordan (Spieth) in his tracks next week more than Rory. With the fun rivalry going on and everything, he's going to be gutted. I saw the golf course last Saturday and I believed that Rory was rightly a favourite. I thought he'd get it done round there."