At the British Open, Rory McIlroy said he was only going to watch the sports “that matter” at the Olympics. So, in the end, golf must have mattered.
The four-time major winner tuned in to watch Justin Rose secure the first Olympic gold medal in golf in 112 years on Sunday, earning a two-stroke win over Henrik Stenson in one of the better duels of the year.
Afterward, Rose said Monday, McIlroy contacted him.
“Yeah, I did get one from Rory, absolutely,” Rose said. “He was very, very proud. Said he was pulling for me. He said basically he could see how much it meant to me, and congratulations. He was very complimentary.”
McIlroy, along with the other top four players in the world and 16 other qualifiers, took a pass on participating in golf’s return to the Olympics. The Games weren’t an appeal for McIlroy, and, based on what Rose said, it doesn’t seem like what unfolded in Brazil necessarily changed the Ulsterman’s opinion.
“He made the point that he really wants golf to succeed as an Olympic sport,” Rose said of what McIlroy conveyed to him.
“He has some of his own personal opinions on it that are very personal to him, and that’s fine. But as a whole he’s very much behind golf succeeding in the Olympics.”
Now McIlroy will have four years to consider taking up the Irish (or British) banner in the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Our conversation with Tom Watson