Rory McIlroy will miss the chance to defend his crown at the Open next week after pulling out of the competition with an ankle injury.

The 2014 champion tore ligaments in his left ankle and sustained joint capsule damage playing football with friends on 4 July.

He said in a message via 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% healthy and 100% competitive. Thank you for all your support and best wishes. I hope to be back on the course as soon as I can."

A statement from The Open 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."

The world no. 1 had been considered the favourite for the 144<sup>th edition of the Open at St Andrews, where a battle with current Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth had been eagerly awaited.

McIlroy will instead focus on rehabilitation with hope of recovering in time for the PGA Championship, the final major of the year, which takes place in Wisconsin in August.