World number one Rory McIlroy will not defend his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title next week as he continues his recovery from a serious ankle injury.
And that increases the likelihood that the four-time major winner will also be unable to defend the following week’s US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
McIlroy suffered a ‘’total rupture’’ of the anterior talofibular ligament in his left ankle while playing football with friends on July 4 and was forced to miss the Scottish Open and the defence of his Open title at St Andrews.
Medical experts suggested the Northern Irishman could face three months on the sidelines and the 26-year-old confirmed on Wednesday that he would not be able to compete at Firestone Country Club in Akron from August 6-9.
“Unfortunately, I will not be defending my World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational title,” McIlroy said in a statement from tournament organisers. “Best of luck to all the competitors and I look forward to returning to Firestone in 2016.”
McIlroy won the Open, Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA in consecutive appearances last summer, his wire-to-wire victory at Hoylake meaning he needs to win the Masters at Augusta National to complete a career grand slam.
Announcing his decision to withdraw from the Open earlier this month, McIlroy said he was taking a “long-term view” of the injury and would not return to action until he felt “100% healthy and 100% competitive”.