US golfer and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson has defended Rory McIlroy after the world no.1 withdrew from next week's British Open due to an ankle injury sustained while playing football with friends.

Mickelson, who missed the 1994 Masters after breaking his leg in a skiing accident, told a news conference ahead of the Scottish Open that golfers cannot live in fear.

"You can't live your life in fear or caution. You have got to enjoy the moment. I didn't feel like anything he was doing was unnecessary risk. He was just playing around and accidents happen.

"People get hurt taking a shower or doing normal day-to-day things. You can't stop living your life," said Mickelson.

Mickelson, who won The Open in 2013, said playing the Scottish Open the week before was good for two reasons.

"I think the players that come over really enjoy it. I think getting acclimated not only to the time change, but also the links style golf has led to success in the following week's performance as well. I think for the last four, five, six years the winner of the British Open Championship has played here at the Scottish Open. So I think we get a lot out of it," said the 45-year-old world no. 21.