Golf: Rory McIlroy dismisses golf's return to Olympics, adds he may not even watch it on TV

Rory McIlroy speaks to members of the media at a press conference on July 12, 2016, ahead of the 2016 British Open Golf Championship.
Rory McIlroy speaks to members of the media at a press conference on July 12, 2016, ahead of the 2016 British Open Golf Championship.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • The most withering criticism of golf's inclusion in the Olympics has been delivered by Rory McIlroy.

The world No. 4 golfer said yesterday that he was "not sure" whether he would even watch on television the sport's imminent return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

In late June, the four-time Major winner declared himself unavailable for participation in next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, citing concerns over the Zika virus.

At Royal Troon, where Rio matters have completely overshadowed the build-up to the Open Championship, the 2014 champion was clearly irked by being asked Olympic questions yesterday.

After ambivalence towards whether he would be an interested onlooker, McIlroy was probed as to which Games specialities he would watch.

 

"Probably events like track and field, swimming, diving, the stuff that matters," he said.

THAT'S NOT ENOUGH

I, on average, probably get tested four to five times a year, which is very little compared to the rest of the Olympic sports.

'' RORY MCILROY, British world No. 4 golfer, calling for more rigorous drug testing for his sport.

The 27-year-old visibly objected to the suggestion that he had sold his sport short by refusing to participate in Brazil.

"I don't feel like I've let the game down at all," said the Northern Irishman. "I didn't get into golf to try and 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 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.

"Look, 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."

In one of the most memorable pre-tournament conferences of any Open, McIlroy had earlier taken aim at golf's 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 haven't been blood tested yet... I think drug testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports.

"HGH (Human Growth Hormone), you can't 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 that it is a clean sport going forward. I think if golf is in the Olympics and golf wants to be seen as a mainstream sport as such, it has to get in line with the other sports that test more rigorously."

THE GUARDIAN

Correction note: This story has been updated for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'No-show McIlroy may not even catch it on TV'. Print Edition | Subscribe