Comment: Rory McIlroy's blunt Olympic honesty was a massive slap in the face to two Irish legends
Published 12/07/2016 | 20:12
It seems that Rory McIlroy has finally told the truth.
For weeks, many accused the star golfer of using the Zika virus as an excuse for skipping this summer's Olympic games, and while there may be some validity to his original explanation for his withdrawal, McIlroy seemed to show his real feelings this afternoon.
In a press conference ahead of this week's Open Championship, McIlroy was quizzed about his Olympic absence.
In comments that contradicted some of his earlier assertions, the Northern Irishman spoke bluntly about golf's place in the Olympics and his role in growing the sport.
"I don’t feel like I’ve let the game down at all. I didn’t get into golf to try to grow the game, I tried to get into golf to win championships and win major championships," said McIlroy.
"I’m very happy with the decision I’ve made, I have no regrets about it. I’ll probably watch the Olympics, but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I’ll watch."
When asked what events he would watch, McIlroy added: "I'll watch track and field, swimming, diving - you know, ones that matter."
From a fan's perspective, the comments are refreshing. For weeks people have questioned McIlroy's true feelings on competing in Rio and today he gave a clear indication of how little he thinks of it.
The problem with his remarks is how they undercut what two Irish legends hope to achieve in Brazil.
Padraig Harrington will represent Ireland in McIlroy's place, while Paul McGinley - who masterminded the 2014 Ryder Cup win - will be the Irish team captain.
When initially declaring for Ireland, McIlroy gave McGinley's meticulous preparation as a reason for his participation:
'He's more into it than I am quite honestly, but because he is, I would feel like I am not only letting him down, I'd let the country down as well. Paul is a very close friend of mine and if I didn't play I'd let him down big time.'
How does McIlroy square those remarks with now saying that golf at the Olympics doesn't matter?
Given that the world's top four aren't competing, it clearly doesn't - but McIlroy's cutting comments are still massively insulting to his 'close friend' McGinley given how much planning the Dubliner has put into helping Ireland succeed.
McIlroy was refreshingly honest this afternoon and it made for great television, but on a human level, it was discomforting to see him rubbish his so-called friends' ambitions after they went on the record to say how much the Olympics means to them.
A lesson for Rory McIlroy: you can be honest without being insulting - you aren't living in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.