The British Open will likely have a new champion this year, as Rory McIlroy may not be able to defend his title at St. Andrews after hurting his ankle while playing soccer.
According to ESPN.com, McIlroy suffered "ruptured ankle ligaments" while playing soccer over the weekend and with the Open starting in less than two weeks, he may not be recovered in time to participate. McIlroy won the trophy last year and he suffered a "total rupture" of his left ankle and he also has joint capsule damage. McIlroy was playing soccer with friends over the weekend, according to the BBC.
McIlroy wrote on Twitter that his rehab for the surgery has already started and that he hopes to return for the following major. Jordan Spieth comes in looking to try and win the Grand Slam this year and he will get to do it with a field that doesn't include McIlroy. McIlroy hits towards his left side and that could add some time for the recovery and he is expected to be out for the British Open no matter how fast he rehabs.
McIlroy withdrew from the Scottish Open that is set to start on Thursday and while some have speculated that he could play at the Open, it is very unlikely. The BBC reports that previous injuries to that area of the ankle have taken "significant" time to recover from. McIlroy finished fourth in the Masters this year and ninth at the US Open. Spieth has won two majors this year and is going for his third in a row at St. Andrews.