Rory McIlroy was just playing a friendly game of soccer.
Now his golf season is in jeopardy.
McIlroy injured his ankle this past weekend and is in serious jeopardy of missing the British Open, an event he dominated in 2014.
What do we know about his injury?
“Well, we know it’s a total rupture of his left ATFL, which is the ligament in your ankle, and then there’s some damage to the joint capsule,” CBSSports.com golf and college football writer Robby Kalland said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We know he’s out of the Scottish Open this week, which was supposed to be his tune-up for the British Open at St. Andrews, and now he’s not playing in that. And with 10 days left, nine days left until the British Open, it is very much in the air whether he is going to be able to play at St. Andrews, where he was one of the co-favorites. Now that seems to kind of open some things up near the top of that leader board because you’d think you would find him there as the defending Open champ.”
McIlroy posted to social media a photo of himself on crutches and in a walking boot.
“All he’s done is post the one Instagram post that kind of gave the update, which is what we all thought,” Kalland said. “It’s kind of amazing that they kept it so secretive. It happened on Saturday, and in the world of 24-hour sports news, you would have thought we would have heard something about it. But I guess that’s part of what golf (is) where you’re kind of in charge of your news. It can get out when you want it to get out.
“But we don’t know a whole lot about the severity,” Kalland continued. “They said they’ll make a decision toward the end of this week to see how his rehab’s going. But seeing him in the walking boot, golf’s one of those sports (in which) you’re on your feet, you’re walking five, six miles per round, plus the transfer of weight onto that leg – it seems really hard for me to see him, even if he does play, really being at the level he needs to be to compete.”
McIlroy, 26, is the top-ranked golfer in the world. If he misses time due to injury, however, that could open the door for Jordan Spieth, who is ranked No. 2.
“If (McIlroy) misses a significant chunk of time, Jordan could definitely come close to catching him by the end of the year,” Kalland said. “There was a really big gap between the two when they started the year, but obviously winning the Master’s and U.S. Open, that’ll help the world golf ranking. Spieth, he’s currently the heavy favorite at this point. He’s getting 4:1, 5:1 odds pretty much everywhere to win the Open, and he’s got the game and he’s got the style where he just can be consistent. He should be at the top again.”