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McIlroy: I'll probably watch the Olympics, but I’m not sure golf is one of the sports I’ll watch

The Northern Irishman hammered home his point that the Olympics doesn’t have the same meaning to golfers as other athletes.

McIlroy was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Open.
McIlroy was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Open.
Image: Alastair Grant

RORY MCILROY HAS further damaged golf’s credibility as an Olympic sport by admitting he’s unlikely to watch the event in Rio and will instead focus on ‘the stuff that matters.’

The Northern Irishman launched a scathing attack of the sport’s inclusion at the Games this afternoon and insisted he was perfectly comfortable with his decision to withdraw.

None of the game’s top four players will be in Brazil next month with Jordan Spieth yesterday joining Jason Day, McIlroy and Dustin Johnson in ruling himself out over fears of the Zika virus.

Speaking ahead of the Open at Royal Troon, McIlroy insisted he felt under no obligation to “grow the game” and said that, while he may watch the Olympics in Brazil, the golf in Rio won’t grab his attention.

“Honestly, I don’t think it was as difficult a decision for me as it was for him,” the four-time Major winner said of Spieth. 

“I don’t feel like I’ve let the game down at all. I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships, and all of a sudden you get to this point and there is a responsibility on you to grow the game, and I get that.

“But at the same time that’s not the reason that I got into golf. I got into golf to win. I didn’t get into golf to get other people into the game.

“I get where different people come from and different people have different opinions. But I’m very happy with the decision that I’ve made and I have no regrets about it.

British Open Golf McIlroy has better things to be doing than watching golf at the Olympics. Source: Peter Morrison

“I’ll probably watch the Olympics, but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I watch.”

Asked what events he will take in, the 27-year-old replied: “Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving - the stuff that matters.”

McIlroy’s comments come following the International Golf Federation president’s criticism of the players for ‘overreacting’ to the Zika threat.

Peter Dawson yesterday said the mass exodus ‘hasn’t shed golf in the best light’ and that golf’s image was being tarnished on the back of the debacle.

The withdrawal of Spieth, who won the Masters and US Open last year, means that six of the world’s top 10 will not be at the Olympics, with Australia’s Adam Scott and South Africa’s Branden Grace also opting to miss out.

The sport has been brought back into the Olympic fold for the first time since the 1904 Games in St Louis.

But McIlroy has made it clear that the event just doesn’t have the same meaning to golfers as other athletes and he hammered home that point today, delivering one last blow.

Ireland will be represented by Pádraig Harrington and Waterford man Seamus Power while Leona Maguire has qualified for the women’s event.

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Golf chief criticises the sport’s big names for ‘overreacting’ to Zika virus threat

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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