Scots look to shine in Rory’s absence

Rory McIlroy is ruled out of the Open after injuring himself during a game of football
Rory McIlroy is ruled out of the Open after injuring himself during a game of football

The world’s greatest golfers are coming to Fife next week, but the world number one will not be among them.

An injury picked up during a kick about with his mates will deprive Rory McIlroy of the chance to defend his Open Championship crown at St Andrews.

McIlroy himself broke the news of his freak accident on social media earlier this week, leaving sports fans facing a nervous wait to see if his ruptured ankle ligaments would heal in time for the golfing showpiece.

The world no.1 swiftly pulled out of the Scottish Open but the odds were still stacked very much against him being part of the Major when it begins in St Andrews next week.

On Wednesday afternoon, he confirmed his absence.

It leaves a gaping hole in the entry list and denies a mouth-watering battle with on-fire Jordan Speith – the man from whom many are anticipating the main challenge for McIlroy’s title will come.

The Northern Irishman’s injury could be one of the most expensive in sport – costing him a potential £1.15m in prize money.

The last four winners of the Open all played the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open the week before and that competition was still being played as we went to press.

After that, it’ll be all eyes on St Andrews and, even though star attraction McIlroy can’t be there, then there are plenty of other names to follow.

And some of those will be hoping it’s their Scottish name being engraved on the famous Claret Jug early evening next Sunday.

Marc Warren had his best ever season on the European Tour last year, finishing 26th in the Race to Dubai having won the Made in Denmark tournament.

He maintained his fine record in US Majors with a 27th place finish in the US Open having posted two top-15 finishes in the PGA Championship over the past
two years.

Ryder Cup player Stephen Gallacher is hoping for a return to the form that saw him finish 16th in the Race to Dubai rankings last year and bounce back into the world’s top 50.

He has previous in St Andrews, having won before at the Dunhill Links Championship.

Richie Ramsay is already a winner on tour this season, having tasted success in the Trophee Hassan in Morocco and currently lies 34th in the Race to Dubai after some consistent high finishes in recent months.

Paul Lawrie, a former Open Champion, is always a good bet on home soil and showed glimpses of a return to form with a top-30 finish at the BWM Munich last week.

He has prevailed on home soil in the Dunhill Links Championship, as well as that memorable victory at Carnoustie 16 years ago.

This year’s championship, the 144th, will be played at St Andrews in Scotland from July 16-19.

Follow @scottinglisefm for updates from the event.