Rory McIlroy Downplays Importance of Olympic Golf, Will Not Watch Event on TV

Updated: 12 July 2016 20:01 IST

Fears over the Zika virus have been cited by a number of top golfers, including Rory McIlroy, who have pulled out of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Rory McIlroy Downplays Importance of Olympic Golf, Will Not Watch Event on TV
Rory McIlroy admitted that the Olympics just don't have the same meaning to golfers as other athletes. © AFP

Troon:

Rory McIlroy might not even bother watching the golf at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, saying in pointed remarks that he will only tune in for "the stuff that matters".

Fears over the Zika virus have been cited by a number of top golfers, including McIlroy, who have pulled out of August's Games in Rio.

But the Northern Irishman has also admitted that the Olympics just don't have the same meaning to golfers as other athletes.

He hammered home that point on Tuesday as he spoke at Royal Troon in Scotland, where this week's British Open will be held.

"I'll probably watch the Olympics, but I'm not sure golf will be one of the events I watch," said the 27-year-old.

When asked what he would turn his television on for during the Games, McIlroy added: "Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving, the stuff that matters."

Such comments can do little to help golf's prospects of remaining an Olympic sport in the long term after the damage already done with the spate of big-name withdrawals.

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

On Monday, Jordan Spieth became the latest golfing superstar to pull out of going to Brazil, meaning six of the world's top 10 will not be there.

And the International Golf Federation's president Peter Dawson has admitted the debacle does not help the sport's reputation.

Dawson and other leading names in golf have spoken of using Rio to help grow the sport globally, but McIlroy, a four-time major winner, sees things differently.

"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," he said.

"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."

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Topics mentioned in this article Golf Rory McIlroy Olympics 2016 Olympics
Highlights
  • McIlroy says he probably won't watch golf at Rio Olympics
  • Six of the world's top 10 golfers have pulled out of Rio Games
  • Golf was included in the Olympics for the first time since the 1904 Games
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