Rory McIlroy 'somewhat proven wrong' on doubts over Rio 2016 Olympic golf

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy was joined by the likes of world number one Jason Day in withdrawing from Rio 2016's golf event

Rory McIlroy admits he was "somewhat proven wrong" in his belief that golf would not be a success at Rio 2016.

McIlroy, 27, was among several high-profile withdrawals from the tournament over concerns about the Zika virus.

He had also criticised golf's place at the Olympics, saying he would not even watch the tournament on TV.

But following the event's success, he said: "There was more people at the golf events than there was at the athletics. It was good to see."

The Zika virus, which has been linked to brain defects in newborn babies, led to McIlroy - and others - pulling out.

But he went on to say players did not see the Olympics as the "pinnacle", and that he would only watch the "stuff that matters" - such as the athletics and swimming - when following the Olympics on television.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's PGA Tour play-off event at The Barclays in New York, the Northern Irishman said: "To see the crowds and see the turnout, I was glad to be somewhat proven wrong.

"It seems like it was a great atmosphere down there. I think it was one of the cheaper tickets as well, and I think that encouraged a lot of people to go.

"I thought golf was sort of going to get lost a little bit. It was away from the village; I thought it was going to just sort of blend in with everything else."

Justin Rose became golf's first men's Olympic champion since 1904 by seeing off Henrik Stenson in a thrilling final round. The Englishman had also made history by hitting Olympic golf's first hole-in-one in the opening round.

McIlroy said of his Ryder Cup team-mate: "You go back years and see his quotes about it, and he was really excited to play and looking forward to play. So I think it was the right winner in the end."

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