Rory McIlroy on road to recovery as he visits gym without crutches in Co Down
Rory McIlroy is continuing on the road to recovery as he was spotted walking without crutches in Co Down after an ankle injury forced him to pull out of The Open where he was due to defend his title.
While the world's top golfers are making their final preparations at St Andrews for The Open Championship which gets underway tomorrow - it will be missing the world number one who is recovering in Co Down.
The 26-year-old was spotted just outside his hometown of Holywood on Wednesday morning at Virgin Active Health Club.
Last Monday McIlroy took to social media to tell his fans that he had ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing football with friends and posted a photo of himself in a cast boot with crutches.
While initially remaining optimistic about his injury and the prospects of taking part in the Open Championship at St Andrews as he was working hard to get back having already started rehab - just two days later he confirmed he was withdrawing.
And he appears to be recovering well as today the Holywood golfer was walking without crutches and had an ankle support brace on the injured ankle.
Last year Rory McIlroy led from start to finish when The Open returned to Royal Liverpool.
He became only the third player in the history of golf to win three Major Championships by the age of 25 after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
When he made the decision to withdraw from the competition he posted a photo of himself watching Wimbledon with his food strapped up.
He said: "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 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 mean time, come on Andy!!!"