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Rory snuffs out golf's Olympic torch

By Jim Gracey

With typically refreshing honesty, Rory McIlroy yesterday delivered a requiem to the future of golf as an Olympic sport.

Four times Major winner McIlroy pulled no punches when asked ahead of Thursday's Open tee-off at Royal Troon about his decision not to play in next month's Rio tournament, initially put down to concerns over the Zika virus, and followed by a raft of withdrawals by leading players.

The Holywood 27 year immediately opened up, saying publicly what many of his fellow professionals have been thinking in private with a scathing observation on golf's place in the Olympics for the first time in the modern era.

Asked what sports he would watch at the Olympics, he replied: "Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving... the stuff that matters."

Insisting he had no regrets, McIlroy asserted: "I don't feel like I've let the game down at all. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships. I didn't get into golf to get other people into the game."

His comments are certain to open up the debate on golf's lukewarm Olympic participation and in turn could have a decisive bearing when the International Olympic Committee next year re-examine its place at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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