Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will not play in the 144th Open at St Andrews next week.
The world No 1 has decided to miss the third major championship of the season after rupturing the anterior talofibular ligament in his left ankle during a weekend game of football with friends.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman initially said he was still hoping to defend his title on the Old Course but he will now focus on his rehabilitation.
McIlroy wrote on his Instagram account: “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 per cent healthy and 100 per cent competitive.
“Thank you for all your best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can.”
Tournament officials reacted to McIlroy’s withdrawal from The Open by releasing a statement on their official Twitter feed.
The statement read: “We are naturally very disappointed that Rory will be unable to defend his title at St Andrews next week.
“Rory will play in many more Open Championships and our primary concern is for his complete recovery.
“Everyone associated with The Open wishes Rory the very best as he looks to return to full fitness.”
McIlroy is the first player to not defend his Open title since Ben Hogan in 1954.