Rory McIlroy ruptures ankle ligament playing football ahead of The Open
Rory McIlroy has ruptured a ligament in his ankle while playing football with friends at the weekend - a week before the defending champion is due to compete at The Open 2015.
The World Number One golfer from Holywood took to social media to share a picture of himself in crutches with his foot in a cast boot.
He said:" Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday. Continuing to asses extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started.
"Working hard to get back as soon as I can."
The Northern Ireland golfer is due to take part next week in the the 144th Open where he is set to defend his title.
The 2015 Open begins in nine days' time at St Andrews Scotland.
However the golfer has not ruled himself out of next week's competition. The 26-year-old launched a competition ahead of this year's Open in St Andrews giving fans the chance to meet him at the competition.
To be in with a chance entrants had to record a video of themselves making their best golf shot.
The tournament kicks off on July 12 until July 19.
Rory McIlroy was at his brilliant best when The Open returned to Royal Liverpool in 2014.
The Co Down man led from start to finish, becoming only the third player in the history of the sport to win three Major Championships by the age of 25 after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
If the injury is serious there is a chance he could also miss out on defending his US PGA Championship title in mid-August.
McIlroy won the Open at Royal Liverpool last year before going on to win another major title, his fourth, at the US PGA Championship.
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."
Recovery from injuries such as the one reported by McIlroy can take weeks or in the worst cases, months and even can require surgery.
However McIlroy has given no details on the anticipated timescale for his recovery.