Rory McIlroy said he did not get into golf to try to grow the game. I got into it to win championships
The most withering criticism of golfs inclusion in the Olympics has been delivered by Rory McIlroy, who suggested the sport was irrelevant in the context of the Games. McIlroy said he was not sure whether he would watch golfs return after a 112-year absence.
The four-times major winner declared himself unavailable in June for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, citing concerns over the Zika virus and an associated health risk he was unwilling to take.
At Royal Troon on Tuesday, where Rio matters completely overshadowed the buildup to the Open, McIlroy was irked by being asked Olympic questions.
After ambivalence towards whether he would be an interested onlooker, McIlroy was asked which events at Rio he would watch, said: Probably events like track and field, swimming, diving, the stuff that matters.
The 27-year-old objected to the suggestion he had sold his sport short by refusing to play in Brazil. I dont feel like Ive let the game down at all, he said. I didnt get into golf to try to grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships. 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 thats not the reason I got into golf. I got into golf to win. I didnt get into golf to get other people into the game.
Look, I get where different people come from and different people have different opinions but Im very happy with the decision that Ive made and I have no regrets about it.
In one of the most memorable pre-tournament conferences of any Open, McIlroy had earlier taken aim at golfs approach to drug testing. I, on average, probably get tested four to five times a year, which is very little compared to the rest of the Olympic sports, he said. I havent been blood tested yet. Ive got to know a lot of athletes over the years; whether it be coming to their houses and doing blood and urine, I think drug testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports.
HGH, you cant really pick it up in a urine test. I could use HGH and get away with it. So I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure it is a clean sport. I think if golf is in the Olympics and wants to be seen as a mainstream sport, it has to get in line with the other sports that test more rigorously.