Rory McIlroy cuts his losses and opts out of St Andrews
Rory McIlroy has conceded defeat in his battle to be fit for the British Open next week and his focus has already turned to the race to recover in time for the US PGA Championship in five weeks' time.
McIlroy's worst fears were realised when a scan revealed that the injury he sustained in a kickabout with friends was as first diagnosed - a complete rupture of the anterior talofibular ligament in his left ankle.
The World No 1 was warned that he could actually make it worse if he tried to defend his title at St Andrews and this convinced him that it was pointless delaying his decision any longer.
McIlroy made the announcement on social-media website Instagram.
Next to a picture of his foot out of the ankle boot, but raised in the air as he watched Andy Murray in action at Wimbledon on TV, McIlroy wrote: "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 100pc healthy and 100pc competitive.
"Thank you for all your support and best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can. In the meantime, come on Andy!!!"
Neither McIlroy nor his backroom staff gave any time-frame for his expected re-appearance, although it is believed the US PGA is a strong possibility.
Certainly, he will not want to miss the defence of that title at Whistling Straits as well.
McIlroy is the first Open champion not to defend the Claret Jug since Ben Hogan in 1954 and only the third Major champion not to defend his title in the past 50 years. The others were Tiger Woods at the 2008 US PGA and Payne Stewart at the 2000 US Open.
With seven sub-70 scores in his past 10 rounds at the legendary links, McIlroy was a clear favourite to stop Jordan Spieth emulating Hogan in his famous 1953 campaign, when he won the first three Majors. However, the young American now heads the book-makers' charts. (© Daily Telegraph, London)