McIlroy claims most golfers haven't "dreamt their whole lives" of winning Olympic gold

The Holywood man was speaking ahead of this week's French Open

Rory McIlroy

Image: Charlie Riedel / AP/Press Association Images

Rory McIlroy has defended his decision to not take part at the Olympic Games in Rio this summer and says that the flurry of golfers who have followed suit hasn't damaged the sport's reputation.

Speaking ahead of the start of the French Open this week, McIlroy explained that for most golfers, winning a major is the pinnacle of the sport.

"The R&A and other bodies that run our sport thought [including golf in the Oylmpics] was a good idea and it is," he told reporters, "You know to try and get golf into different markets. Obviously the Olympics is a great platform to do that.

"I've said to people I have four Olympic Games per year [majors] and that's my pinnacle. That's what I play for. That's what I'll be remembered for."

McIlroy defended the decision of golfers not to take part, while he himself has cited concern over the Zika virus as the main reason that he will not compete at the Games. The 27-year-old refuted the idea that the situation has developed into an embarrassment for the sport.

"I don't think it's embarrassing for the game because most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics or winning an Olympic gold. And we haven't. We dream of winning Claret Jugs and winning Green Jackets.

"Whether that makes golf look insular... that's just the way it is. I think that all the negative press the sport has got over the last week or so, won't have any long lasting effect, but it's been a bit of a difficult time for golf."

Via Sky Sports