WORLD No.1 Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will not travel to St Andrews to defend his British Open title after rupturing ligaments in his ankle during a friendly football session.

“After much consideration, I have decided not to play in the Open Championship at St. Andrews,” McIlroy posted on Instagram.

“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…. In the mean time, come on Andy!!!”

McIlroy is now the first Open champion not to defend his title since Ben Hogan in 1954.

The Northern Irishman did not offer a timetable for his return. He was scheduled to play four events in a six-week period, including two majors and a WGC event.

The Open released this statement via Twitter: “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.”