Rory McIlroy says he won't watch Olympic golf

Rory McIlroy has taken aim at Olympic golf, saying he's not even sure he'll watch it on television after withdrawing from the tournament in Rio.

Golfer prefers 'stuff that matters,' like swimming, track

Rory McIlroy said he's "very comfortable" with his decision to skip Rio as golf makes its return to the Olympics. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has taken aim at Olympic golf, saying he's not even sure he'll watch it on television.

McIlroy spoke Tuesday after a practice round for the British Open in Scotland. He won't be playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, citing health concerns, and it's clear he's not a big fan of the sport even being part of the games for the first time since 1904.

McIlroy said he's "very comfortable" with his decision not to go to Rio. He also said he will "probably watch the Olympics, but I'm not sure golf is one of the sports I'll watch."

Asked which sports would get his attention, McIlroy mentioned athletics, swimming and diving. He called those sports "the stuff that matters."

McIlroy went on to say he didn't become a golfer "to grow the game" — one of the reasons often cited by boosters of Olympic golf as a reason to support their efforts. He said his main goal is to win major championships.

Rory McIIroy - I don't feel I've let the game down

5 years ago
The world #4 spoke about his decision to withdraw from the Rio Olympics 0:44

Spieth blames Zika

Jordan Spieth called his withdrawal from the Olympics "probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life."

The American said he's a huge supporter of Olympic golf and playing for the United States. But he said health concerns over the Zika virus led him to sit out the sport's return to the games for the first time since 1904.

The four top players in the world rankings are all skipping the Rio de Janeiro Games. Spieth was the last of the Big Four to make his decision, announcing it Monday after Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and McIlroy withdrew from Olympic consideration.

Jordan Spieth - It will be hard to watch the Olympics

5 years ago
The American shares how hard it was to turn down the chance to compete in the Olympics 0:46

Spieth had not commented on his decision until Tuesday's scheduled news conference ahead of the British Open. He said he "very much struggled" with whether to play in Rio, going "back and forth" before finally making up his mind. He also said it will be "very difficult" to watch the opening ceremony on television and see other golfers competing for a gold medal.

Spieth went on to say that playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is now one of his top priorities.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?