Rory McIlroy: Major championships, not the Olympics, are the ‘pinnacle’ for golfers – Los Angeles Times

Rory McIlroy doesn’t regret his decision not to participate in the 2016 Rio Games.

Nor does he think the growing list of golfers opting to skip the Olympics is an embarrassment to the sport in its return to the Games for the first time in more than a century.

“I don’t think it’s embarrassing for the game because most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold, and we haven’t,” McIlroy told the Irish Times. “We dream of winning Claret Jugs and we dream of winning green jackets. Whether that makes golf look insular in any way . . . it’s just the way it is.”

He added: “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.”

Other high-profile golfers who have chosen to forgo the Olympics include Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Vijay Singh, Branden Grace and Graeme McDowell.

In McIlroy’s case, concerns about the Zika virus spurred his decision. He said he hopes to have the chance to represent Ireland in the Olympics four years from now.

“At the end of the day, if I’m not 100% comfortable going [to Rio], I just don’t want to put it at risk,” McIlroy said. “There’s another Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 and I’m more than happy to wait until then to get that Olympic experience.”

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