Rory McIlroy was among the golfers who decided not to compete in the Olympics, and the Northern Irishman made his views on the sport’s return to the Games very clear at the British Open.
But during his press conference ahead of The Barclays on Wednesday, the first stop of the FedEx Cup playoffs, McIlroy said it was “nice to be proven wrong” regarding Olympic golf.
“I thought golf was sort of going to get lost a little bit,” he said. “It was away from the village … I thought it was going to just sort of blend in with everything else and sort of be, not forgotten about, but just one of a lot of sports that were there, obviously. But to see the turnout and the crowd and everything, I was glad to be somewhat proven wrong.”
At the Open in July, McIlroy said he didn’t even plan to watch Olympic golf, only “the sports that matter.” (We found out he did watch.) But golf’s return to the Games turned out to be better than most had imagined. Three established players fought down the stretch for medals, the course received rave reviews, TV ratings were great and player safety — and Zika — wasn’t much of a topic, if at all.
Jordan Spieth, who also skipped Rio, said on Wednesday that he “wished” he was there.
“At the time I made the decision, it was the right decision for me,” Spieth said. “And I told you guys in that press conference, it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do. The potential for regret was going to be there and it certainly was while I was watching, so that’s why I tweeted out, ‘I’m looking forward to setting it as a goal to be there in 2020.'”
McIlroy tees off at 12:44 p.m. on Thursday with Harris English and Daniel Summerhays. Spieth is off at 1:06 p.m. with Russell Knox and Brandt Snedeker.