Pádraig Harrington gave Rory McIlroy some hope that he can turn up and the last minute and overcome his ankle injury to play in The Open. But Paul McGinley fears that missing St Andrews is a precious lost opportunity for the world No 1 to triumph at the Home of Golf.
"I think it's a shame for Rory and it's a shame for golf because it's not often The Open is in St Andrews." McGinley said. "There's something special and magical about it being in St Andrews and Rory is going to miss that.
"It could be five years before he gets a chance to play an Open again at St Andrews. It's sad for Rory, it's sad for the game, it's sad for the fact that Jordan Spieth has won the first two majors and I think St Andrews is really going to suit Rory but hopefully he recovers quickly."
Harrington won back to back Opens in 2008 despite a wrist injury and he believes there's still time for the four-time major winner to make it to the Old Course.
According to Martin Dempster in The Scotsman, Harrington said:
"I injured myself five days before The Open. The first time I put the wrist under pressure was the sixth hole on the Thursday and, when I did, it was fine. I wasn’t playing under an injury.
"I just couldn’t prepare because of an injury – which probably did me some good, looking back. I just walked around with a wedge and a putter on the Wednesday, played a few chips, got the feel of the greens.
“So it interfered with my preparation, although it might have even helped my tournament. But I certainly wasn’t playing with an injury. I tested it after six holes and it worked.
“It could be completely different circumstances to what Rory is facing, depending on how he recovers. Only he will know the next step. I’m assuming he’ll be finding out the extent of the damage – and I’m sure he’ll have the quickest recovery available. It just depends how bad it is.”
Harrington revealed he’d suffered a similar injury in his amateur days, but is confident McIlroy’s recovery period will be a lot shorter than his.
“I did the same thing in ’91, but didn’t get it treated quickly enough or properly. And still to this day I work on my left ankle because of that injury. It took a long time to clear up,” he said
.Harrington had been playing host to some guests in Dublin in the shape of close pal and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who loaned him a light laser therapy machine at Royal Birkdale when he was injured in 2008.
Having just won the Irish PGA at the European Club, the Dubliner hit an impact bag at home on the Sunday before The Open and damaged his left wrist.
McIlroy injured his ankle running on astroturf on Saturday during a kick-about with friends. he then took to Instagram on Monday to reveal the extent of the injury:
Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kickabout with friends on Saturday. Continuing to assess extent of injury and treatment plan day by day. Rehab already started..... Working hard to get back as soon as I can.