Olympics 2016: Rory McIlroy Congratulates Justin Rose on Gold

August 15, 2016

In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, Rory McIlroy took an antagonistic stance toward golf’s place in the Games. He wasn’t going to participate—and he did not believe he had an obligation to help “grow” the game.

But McIlroy’s critical opinions seem to have softened, at least when it comes to Justin Rose. Rose, who won gold on Sunday, told reporters he received a message of congratulations from McIlroy after his historic win in Rio. “(McIlroy) was very, very proud. Said he was pulling for me. He said basically he could see how much it meant to me, and congratulations,” Rose said of the note.

“He made the point that he really wants golf to succeed as an Olympic sport. He has some of his own personal opinions on it that are very personal to him, and that’s fine. But as a whole he’s very much behind golf succeeding in the Olympics,” Rose said.

In July McIlroy said he probably wouldn’t even watch the Olympic golf tournament. “I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I’ll watch,” he said. “Probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving, stuff that matters.” 

Rose had a thought about that statement after getting McIlroy’s congratulations: “Obviously, he watched.”