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McIlroy changes opinion on golf in Olympics: 'I've been proven wrong'

Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile / Getty

Rory McIlroy was skeptical about golf in the Summer Olympics following its return to the global stage in 2016.

The Northern Irishman said some harsh words about the sport's place in the Olympics after deciding to skip the Rio Games five years ago.

“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," he said at the 2016 Open Championship, according to Golf Channel's Brentley Romine.

McIlroy also said he wouldn't watch the Olympic golf competition and would instead pay attention to track and field or swimming, sports he referred to as "the stuff that matters.”

Fast forward five years, and McIlroy has changed his view after playing the first three rounds of the 2021 Olympic competition at 11-under to sit three back of the lead.

“I need to give things a chance," McIlroy said Saturday in Tokyo. "I was speaking to my wife last night and saying maybe I shouldn't be so skeptical. But I think I need to do a better job of just giving things a chance, experiencing things, not writing them off at first glance."

McIlroy once called the Ryder Cup an exhibition too, and that's also an outlook he's changed.

“That's sort of a trait of mine, but like I'm happy to be proven wrong," he added. "I was proven wrong at the Ryder Cup, I've been proven wrong this week and I'm happy to say that.”

McIlroy will tee off in the penultimate group for the final round at the Olympics alongside Carlos Ortiz of Mexico and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia at 9:58 p.m. ET.

McIlroy changes opinion on golf in Olympics: 'I've been proven wrong'
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