Rory McIlroy said he had no regrets about his comments regarding skipping the Olympics but wished he had expressed himself better regarding his statement that he did not get into golf to grow the game.
The four-time major champion has come under criticism inside and outside of golf following his statement on Tuesday, saying he would not be playing in the Olympics and may not even watch the golf events.
He stood by that yesterday following his opening round 69 at Troon, but was less satisfied with the way he had responded to the assertion from some that the elite professional males in the sport who had chosen not to play in Rio had let the game of golf down.
“I don’t feel like I’ve let the game down at all,” McIlroy had replied. “I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships.”
Asked yesterday if he was happy with what he had said, McIlroy stated: “I think I would have elaborated a little bit on the grow-the-game comment. Obviously I feel like I do my bit to grow the game. It’s not as if I’m uninterested. I feel like golf is a great vehicle to — I don’t want to force golf on anyone. But I feel like golf is a great vehicle to instill values in kids. I’m an ambassador for the PGA Junior League, I do some stuff for the First Tee in the States, and I feel like I’ve used my success in golf in a very positive way in the community.
“Look, again, the next generation can play golf if they want or they don’t. It won’t make me any less happy. But if I can somehow make a positive change in the world by what I do on the golf course, so whether that means raise money for charity or give kids more of a chance in life growing up, I’ve been very fortunate to do what I’ve done in golf, and I feel like I’ve used that success in a positive way.
“So I have no regrets about where I stand on certain things, but I wish I maybe would have just elaborated a little bit more on what I said.”
As for saying he would only watch “stuff that matters” at the Games, McIlroy said: “Some people may think it’s wrong and that’s fine. But I’ve spent seven years trying to please everyone, and I figured out that I can’t really do that, so I may as well be true to myself.”
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