Rory McIlroy looks set to miss The Open after injuring himself playing in a 'kickabout' with friends.
The world number one has a total rupture of of his anterior talo-fibular ligament (ankle) and associated joint capsule damage.
McIlroy revealed on Instagram that he suffered the injury playing football with friends on Saturday.
The post on the social media site was accompanied by a picture of a serious looking McIlroy wearing a protective boot and using crutches.
The Northern Irishman says that his rehab has "already started" and that he is "working hard to get back as soon as I can".
However, it appears almost certain that McIlroy will miss The Open which starts at St Andrews in just 10 days time, meaning he will be unable to defend the title he won last year.
McIlroy was also due to play in the Scottish Open this week to fine-tune his preparations for St Andrews.
The 26-year-old won the Open at Royal Liverpool last year before going on to win another major title, his fourth, at the US PGA Championship. It's quite possible that McIlroy will be unable to defend that title either.
Former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance was taken by surprise by the news as he arrived at Wimbledon to watch the day's action there.
"That's the first I've heard of it but I'm in complete shock: that's a big blow to (the Open) if he misses it," Torrance told Press Association Sport.
"That's obviously bad news and I'd just wish him all the best and hope he can make a quick recovery."
The Open begins on July 16.
Recovery from injuries such as the one reported by McIlroy can take weeks or, in the worst cases, months and even require surgery. McIlroy has as yet given no details on the anticipated timescale for his recovery.
Should he be sidelined and be out of action for more than a month, he could be unable to defend his title at the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which begins on August 13.
McIlroy has been only on the fringes of challenging at this year's majors, both won by Jordan Spieth. At the Masters in April he finished four strokes back while he finished tied ninth, five shots off the pace, at last month's US Open at Chambers Bay despite a final-round 66.
Much has been made of a potential rivalry with 21-year-old Spieth, who has risen to number two in the rankings, but the injury could prevent any head-to-head meetings in the remaining two majors of the summer.Reuse content