Golf's best are congregated in St. Andrews, but the sport's biggest news of the day transpired 300 miles from the Old Course.
Rory McIlroy, he of the world's No. 1 ranking, is missing this week's British Open due to a bum ankle. The 26-year-old was spotted out in his hometown of Holywood, Northern Ireland on Wednesday, one of his first public appearances since his injury. In and of itself, no big whoop.
Of concern, however, was a photo snapped by the United Kingdom's Belfast Live of McIlroy's maligned ankle. Specifically, the loss of a walking boot, replaced by a lightweight brace:
Adding fuel to the recovery rumors was McIlroy's location, as the reigning Open champion was departing a gym after a workout.
On average, those suffering an acute lateral ankle ligament rupture are constrained to a walking boot for three-to-six weeks following injury, which puts McIlroy well ahead of the normal recovery timetable.
Golf activity is a different beast then lifting or running, especially when factoring in the weight shift on an ankle that's inherent to a golf swing. Nevertheless, this is a positive sign for McIlroy and his odds of returning for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which begins on Aug. 13.