Rory McIlroy out of the Open: world No 1 confirms he will miss St Andrews event after suffering ankle injury playing football

Northern Irishman has a total rupture of of his anterior talo-fibular ligament

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Who says the boy has no common sense? Rory McIlroy submitted to the inevitable today withdrawing from next week’s defence of the Open Championship at St Andrews.

The world no.1 posted a picture of the ankle he injured playing football with friends last Saturday propped beneath a television screen while urging Andy Murray to victory at Wimbledon.

“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 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!”

While many criticised McIlroy for putting himself at risk so close to a major championship, there was none of that from Phil Mickelson, who missed the Masters in 1994 after breaking his finger skiing. “I said then you can’t live your life in fear. You have to enjoy the moment.

The picture McIlroy posted alongside his statement:



“I didn’t feel like anything he was doing was unnecessary risk. He was just playing around and accidents happen. People get hurt taking a shower and doing normal, day-to-day things. You can’t stop living your life. It’s unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully he’ll heal soon and be back at it. If he can’t play next week certainly by the PGA I would hope.”   

There were kind words, too, for Tom Watson. Let’s call it a professional accommodation, an olive branch of sorts from Mickelson ahead of Watson’s Open swansong.

Mickelson, who tees off at the Scottish Open at Gullane today as part of his Open preparation, is indelibly linked to Watson following his criticisms of America’s losing Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles last year. Too removed from his players, not inclusive enough, was the thrust of it.

Don’t expect the pair to be grouped together next week but should they bump into each other on the putting green Mickelson’s eulogy here yesterday suggests at least the possibility of a handshake.  

“I view him as a great champion. I look at him as one of the best players the game has ever seen and I look at him with a lot of respect in that regard,” Mickelson said. “In 2009 when he almost won, I was pulling as hard as anybody. I thought it was one of the greatest stories in all of sports in the history of any sport.

“As much as I like Stewart Cink (winner), I would have cherished a Watson victory there. I hope he plays well next week. Again he's one of the greatest champions the game has ever seen. I'd like him to have a special week, and I know people will treat him like the great champion he is.”

It should be McMickelson, so at home does the American feel in Scotland. Mickelson won the Scottish Open two years ago en route to his triumph at the Open on the burned acres of Muirfield, which backs on to Gullane at the eastern end of the course.

The summer has not yet turned the Scottish links the colour of biscuit, a detail Mickelson appreciates as the Open pressure builds. “The Open Championship is very mentally challenging, and so playing the week before, although I'm trying to prepare and get ready, I don't want to get beat up every single hole. I don't want to be mentally drained at the end of this week.

“That's what I really liked about Castle Stuart is it was a fun links golf course to play but it didn't beat you up on every single shot. It gave you some room off the tee and I'm kind of expecting the same here.”