British Open 2014 champ Rory McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he won’t be playing in the next week’s British Open on the Old Course in St. Andrews.
McIlroy posted a picture on his Instagram account showing his injured left ankle due to ruptured ligament from playing soccer with friends in Northern Ireland on Saturday.
“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% healthy and 100% competitive. Thank you for all your support and best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can,” wrote McIlroy.
Prior to announcement, he also posted another picture on his Instagram account saying that he was still trying to assess the extent of injury and treatment plan day by day and was still hopeful to recover in time for The Open, but decided two days later that it was not worth risking a full recovery.
The 2015 Open begins on 16 July, and tournament organizers said they were “naturally very disappointed” at McIlroy’s withdrawal.
“Rory will play in many more Open Championships and our primary concern is for his complete recovery,” added organizers.
Russell Knox who grew up in north of Scotland will replace McIlroy as he make his Open debut.
With McIlroy’s withdrawal, rival Jordan Spieth becomes the favorite at 9/2 followed by Dustin Johnson at 12/1 and Justin Rose at 16/1.
If Spieth brings his A-game to Open Championship, this year will surely be one to remember as he goes for Grand Slam with odds at 25/1. Spieth won the Masters by four shots on the field in April and the U.S. Open with a 1-shot victory at Chambers Bay in June.
“We want him back. Everybody does. It’s unlucky, it’s unfortunate, and I’m sure he’s taking it harder on himself than anybody else,” said Spieth. “But I don’t think he did anything wrong, it was just an unfortunate situation. And hopefully, he rebounds quickly and gets back right to where he was.”
McIlroy will be the first player not to defend his Open title in 61 years since Ben Hogan in 1954.
McIlroy could also miss title defenses in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational (Aug. 6-9) and the PGA Championship (Aug. 10–16).
Odds courtesy of Bodog and Paddy Power