Rory McIlroy has admitted he was "somewhat proven wrong" by the success of golf at the Rio Olympics. The 27-year-old Northern Irishman withdrew from the much-discussed event in Brazil, citing concerns about the Zika virus and saying he would not even watch the tournament on TV.
McIlroy was one of a number of high-profile players who withdrew from the men's competition, which was ultimately won by Britain's Justin Rose. At the time, McIlroy controversially said players did not see the Olympics as the "pinnacle" of golf, and that he would only watch the "stuff that matters" at the Games.
Now, however, he has performed a U-turn, admitting he misjudged golf's place at the Olympics. "To see the crowds and see the turnout, I was glad to be somewhat proven wrong," he said ahead of the PGA Tour play-off event at The Barclays in New York, according to the BBC.
"It seems like it was a great atmosphere down there. I think it was one of the cheaper tickets as well, and I think that encouraged a lot of people to go. I thought golf was sort of going to get lost a little bit. It was away from the village; I thought it was going to just sort of blend in with everything else."
Rose emerged from Rio as golf's first men's Olympic champion since 1904 by defeating Henrik Stenson in a dramatic final round. McIlroy revealed he was thrilled for his Ryder Cup teammate, who has always dreamed of Olympic glory.
"You go back years and see his quotes about it, and he was really excited to play and looking forward to play. So I think it was the right winner in the end," McIlroy shared.