Golf made its return to the Olympics at Rio following an 112-year hiatus
After saying he would be watching “track and field, swimming, diving - the stuff that matters” at the Olympics, it turns out Rory McIlroy did in fact tune in to watch the action in Rio.
Gold medal winner Justin Rose revealed he got a congratulatory message from the former world number one, who decided to skip the event due to Zika virus fears.
“I did get one from Rory. Absolutely,” Rose said. “He said he was very, very proud and he said he was pulling for me. He said he could see how much it meant to me and congratulated me.
“He was very complimentary and obviously he watched. He made the point that he really wants golf to succeed as an Olympic sport. He has some of his own opinions that are very personal to him and that’s fine, but as a whole he’s very, very much behind golf succeeding in the Olympics.
McIlroy had a majorless year in 2016
“All the guys that missed out probably made their decision for good reasons and they probably persuaded themselves it was a good decision, but I think they’re going to have sat back and realised what a successful event this was.
“They’re all great competitors and to be sitting at home watching other guys getting the glory is not going to sit well with them. They want experiences like this and they’re going to have to wait four years. That’s what makes this special. It just doesn’t come around next week and I’ll have another go.
“It’s an opportunity that comes around so rarely and I’m certainly happy it’s fallen on my plate. I certainly targeted it and went after it and therefore feel really proud of it, but it’s an opportunity that hopefully they’re going to take in 2020.”
The 2013 US Open champion, who said the win in Rio was the best of his career, also said fellow gold medal winner Andy Murray tuned in for last hole before taking to the court for his final.
The top four players in the world - Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy - were all absent in Rio.