McIlroy guts Olympic golf and tour dope testing
Rory McIlroy speaks at Royal Troon

Rory McIlroy speaks at Royal Troon

Rory McIlroy insisted he’d snub Olympic golf on TV and watch only the “stuff that matters” when he tunes in to Rio next month.

The four time major winner was the first of the world’s Top Four to turn down the chance to play for gold in Brazil.

And like world No 1 Jason Day, No 2 Jordan Spieth and No 3 and US Open champion Dustin Johnson, the Holywood star blamed the Zika virus threat.

But while Spieth said he’d agonised over his decision until the last minute and insisted that it was “going to be a very, very difficult thing for me to do to watch the opening ceremonies and watch my peers compete for a gold medal,” McIlroy put the boot in and made it clear that he doesn’t consider golf an Olympic sport.

McIlroy said: “Honestly, I don't think it was as difficult a decision for me as it was for him. I don't feel like I've let the game down at all. I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game. 

“I got into golf to win championships and win major championships, and all of a sudden you get to this point and there is a responsibility on you to grow the game, and I get that. 

“But at the same time that's not the reason that I got into golf. I got into golf to win. I didn't get into golf to get other people into the game.

“But, look, I get where different people come from and different people have different opinions. But I'm very happy with the decision that I've made and 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 watch.”

Asked what events he’d watch, McIlroy dismissed golf as a serious sport, declaring: “Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving, the stuff that matters.”

Explaining why he found it so tough to say no to Rio, said: “Why was it so hard? Because I'm a huge believer in Olympic golf. I'm a huge believer in playing for your country.

“I absolutely look forward to Summer and Winter Olympics. It's the most exciting sporting event for me to watch on TV and to have a chance to be a part of it is something I definitely look forward to trying to do.

“This year I just had to try and weigh a risk that doesn't present itself every year, and just at the time that I had to make the decision, I just felt this was the right move for me.”

McIlroy believes the majors are the yardstick of greatness in the men’s game, not the Olympic Game.

He said recently: “I’ve said to people I have four Olympic Games a year. That's my pinnacle. That's what I play for. That's what I'll be remembered for.”

McIlroy believes golf needs to embrace a more rigorous antidoping policy if it is to be taken seriously as an Olympic sport.

Explaining that in comparison with the testing friends in oother sports endure, “drug testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports.”

He added: “I don't really know of any drug that can give you an advantage all the way across the board. 

“There are obviously drugs that can make you stronger. There are drugs that can help your concentration. But whether there's something out there where it can make you an overall better player, I'm not sure. 

“Physically, obviously, you can get stronger, recover faster. So, I mean, for example, HGH is only -- you can't really pick it up in a urine test. I could use HGH and get away with it. 

“So I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward. 

“I think if golf is in the Olympics and golf wants to be seen as a mainstream sport as such, it has to get in line with the other sports that test more rigorously.”