Rory McIlroy looks unlikely to be in a position to defend his Open Championship title after revealing he tore ligaments in his left ankle and sustained joint capsule damage while playing football on Saturday 4 July.
The world number one finished two strokes ahead of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia to triumph at Hoylake in 2014 but will surely now miss out on the chance to capture his fifth major title after taking to social media to confirm the extent of his injury.
"Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday," McIlroy wrote on Instagram accompanied by a picture of him standing on crutches and sporting a protective boot.
"Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started... Working hard to get back as soon as I can."
While McIlroy does not specifically address his participation at the Open, any chance of the 26-year-old lining up at St Andrews must surely now be considered extremely remote given the 29th edition of the tournament is due to begin on 16 July.
Indeed, questions will also be asked over whether or not he will be fit enough to contest the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.
McIlroy finished tied ninth at the US Open in June.