Rory McIlroy not to blame for injury, rivals say

Rory McIlroy`s injury woes have brought words of comfort and support from his top rivals gathered at Gullane for this week`s Scottish Open.

Rory McIlroy not to blame for injury, rivals say

Gullane: Rory McIlroy`s injury woes have brought words of comfort and support from his top rivals gathered at Gullane for this week`s Scottish Open.

The 26-year-old world number one had been due to be the top draw in the Open Championship buildup event in East Lothian, but he was forced to withdraw on Monday after rupturing an ankle ligament playing football with friends.

He is also a serious doubt for the defence of his Open Championship crown next week at St Andrews and there has been some criticism that he acted unprofessionally in playing what he called "a kickabout" at such a crucial stage of the golfing year.

Rickie Fowler, who is the same age as McIlroy, said that it was just an unfortunate accident.

"I haven`t spoken to him yet, but it is unfortunate," the American said. "I`m of the impression that you have to live, you can`t be too cautious.

"Soccer is not as big of a sport in the US, but I grew up with my fair share of action sports. That`s something that I don`t do as much now, but I don`t stay away from completely. I still like to live and have a little bit of fun."

Fellow American Phil Mickelson, who won the Open at nearby Muirfield the year before McIlroy`s triumph, concurred saying that he had undergone a similar fate in 1994.

"I snapped my finger before the Masters skiing and I said then, and I feel the same way now, you can`t live your life in fear. You have to enjoy the moment," the 45-year-old said.

"I didn`t feel like anything he was doing was an unnecessary risk. He was just playing around and accidents happen. People get hurt taking a shower and doing normal day-to-day things. You can`t stop living your life."

Mickelson, who won the Scottish Open the week before his 2013 victory at Muirfield, will start as one of the favourites on Thursday despite struggling for much of this season.

He tied for second behind Jordan Spieth at the Masters in April but could only place tied for 64th at the US Open last month following a dismal showing at the weekend.

Returning to play links golf in Scotland, he feels, will do wonders for his game and chances of winning a sixth major title.

"I have always gotten a lot out of the Scottish Open going back to when I started playing at Loch Lomond well over a decade ago," he said.

But now that it`s on links golf, I get even more out of it. I think the players that come over really enjoy it.

"I think the last four, five, six years, the winner of The Open Championship has played here at the Scottish Open."

With world number two Spieth electing to play on the US Tour, the top-ranking player will be world number seven Justin Rose, who is also the defending champion following his win at Aberdeen last year.

Rose has already played a couple of practice rounds at St Andrews where he said the course was "looking very green" and was "in great shape."

"I feel like every time I`ve played well this year, I`ve converted it into a top two finish," he said.

"All in all, I feel like I`m going into the summer in a good place and playing well and looking forward to the tournaments coming up."

Also among the favourites this week will be world number 12 Jimmy Walker, even though he says he is still getting to grips with playing links golf, fellow American Matt Kuchar, and Ryder Cup stars such as Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Jamie Donaldson and Steven Gallacher.

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