Golf fans everywhere were disappointed Wednesday when their fears regarding the British Open came true. No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy will not be on the green.
On Monday, he posted a photo of himself on crutches and in an ankle boot. McIlroy revealed that he had ruptured his left AFTL (ankle ligament) and had associated joint capsule damage, and he thought he may be able to make it through. He was in a “soccer kickabout” with his friends Saturday when it happened.
But on Wednesday, McIlroy posted on his Instagram feed that he will not be competing to keep his championship title at the British Open. The photo shows him laid back with his feet up, a black air cast around his left ankle, Wimbledon on his TV and a Claret Jug in the background.
“After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews,” McIlroy wrote. He added that he was taking a “long term view” of his injury and only wants to return to playing in tournaments when he is “100% healthy and 100% competitive.”
McIlroy was quick to pull out of the competition, just two days after the news of his injury. This is the first time in 61 years that the defending champion will not be on the green with the rest of the competitors, according to CBS News.
The R&A expressed their disappointment that McIlroy will be unable to defend his title in a statement. However, they said that “Rory will play in many more Open Championships and our primary concern is for his complete recovery.”
So Scotland’s lucky Russell Knox will be taking McIlroy’s place in the tournament. He said that it is “a dream come true” to compete at St. Andrews in his first Open championship.
He received a text from his wife followed by an email from his manager confirming that McIlroy was officially out of the Open. “I was down on the 12th hole and had a big smile on my face when I got the text and bizarrely it was close to where I got a hole-in-one some years back,” Knox said.
Although he is excited, he also feels for McIlroy. “Naturally, I am disappointed for Rory as everyone is barracking for Rory as he’s in the prime of his career and he would have had a great chance to win at St Andrews,” Knox said.
With McIlroy out of the tournament, Jordan Spieth seems to be the overall favorite to win. Spieth’s looking to add St. Andrews to the list of places he has nabbed a title.
He’s already won the Master’s and the U.S. Open this year. Spieth has the opportunity to replace McIlroy at No.1 in the world if he finishes well at the John Deere Classic and is victorious at the British Open.