If Rory McIlroy misses the British Open at St Andrews due to a freak injury Jordan Spieth’s prospects for keeping the calender year Grand Slam dream alive will be boosted. Sergio Garcia is due a major championship and it could happen next week on the Old Course at the home golf. Paul Casey get can right in the mix on a course suited to his game while Miguel-Angel Jimenez can fare best of the seniors.

British Opens at St Andrews

St Andrews first hosted the British Open in 1873 and has staged the event 28 times in total. In recent years the venue has been fixed on a five year rotation while the other top links courses in England and Scotland have to wait up to ten years to stage the oldest championship in the world. Since 1970 the course winners include Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods twice and Nick Faldo and Severiano Ballesteros. John Daly and Louis Oosthuizen have been more surprise recent winners of the Claret Jug on the most famous course in the world.

McIlroy’s Injury

McIlroy has injured his ankle ligaments playing soccer with some friends in Ireland. The early prognosis was that he had only a one in ten chance of playing in the Open. You must feel sorry for the guy that crocked Rory on the soccer field as not winning such an Open could cost the world number one millions of pounds in endorsements. He will be on massive bonuses with his sponsors for winning majors and I hope he has a strong friendship with the guilty party.

The Irishman wrote on social media: ‘Total rupture of left ATFL (ankle ligament) and associated joint capsule damage in a soccer kick-about 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.’ Some European bookmakers have removed McIlroy from their odds while others are offering ‘with a run’ which means if he does not play stakes are returned.

Spieth and the Rankings

One consequence of McIlroy’s absence is that Spieth could overhaul him in the world rankings. He needs to finish in the top seven at the US Tour John Deere Classic and then win the third major of the season. That scenario is feasible because the rankings system awards 100 points to the winner of a major whatever the strength of the field. In regular tournaments a weakened field equates to fewer ranking points available. Spieth is unproven at the highest level on a championship links course but his class could see him win the Open.

Other Contenders

Garcia has had some near misses in majors and he is yet to win that elusive first prize in one of the four most important weeks of the years. He was tied 14th in the 2010 Open at St Andrews and finished second behind McIlroy at Hoylake last year. Garcia seemed more philosophical than in the past and could gain solace in the fact that he did nothing wrong but was beaten by the best player in the world in top form.

Casey had the same four round score as Garcia five years ago. His form dipped after that effort and he began to drop from a career high of number three in the world. He is now safely back inside the top 50 in the standings which gives him entry into the majors and WGC tournaments. He is better than average off the tee and will have an advantage when driving into wide fairways. The course is not a great fit for Jimenez but he has youth and form on his side and he is the most likely winner in the top senior market but Spieth will get he loudest cheers if he wins the Open.

Click here to see the current world rankings.

European odds can be found at British bookmakers William Hill

For a full range of golf odds please visit 888Sport