You're on Rory McIlroy's turf now, folks. And he seems displeased with the onus of the future of golf being put on his shoulders. McIlroy spit some fire Tuesday in his British Open press conference when asked about the 2016 Rio Olympics and growing the game in golf.
McIlroy was asked to expand on his decision to withdraw from the Olympics in light of Jordan Spieth doing the same thing this week.
"I don't think it was as difficult a decision for me as it was for [Jordan Spieth]," said McIlroy on Tuesday. "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 try to win championships and win major championships.
"All of a sudden you get to this point and there's a responsibility on you to grow the game. I get that, but at the same time that's not the reason I got into golf. I didn't get into golf to get other people into the game. I'm very happy with the decision I made, and I have no regrets about it."
Then he dropped some napalm on the entire idea of golf at the Olympics and, let's be clear, but the future of the sport at this event in jeopardy. That's fine, of course, but let's not ignore what is happening here.
"I'll probably watch the Olympics, but I'm not sure golf will be one of the events I'll watch."
So what will you watch, Rory?
"Track and field, swimming, diving ... the stuff that matters."
Rory on the Olympics. Straight 🔥🔥🔥. pic.twitter.com/CBSijrAbkm— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 12, 2016
Fire. Straight fire. And Rory will catch heat for all of this, but here is the reality: The best thing to "grow the game" is a pissed off, takes-no-prisoners Rory McIlroy. That's major-winning Rory and nothing galvanizes a sport like a young, likable superstar hurtling towards 10 majors.
That's an idea, by the way, which a British paper recently scoffed at by saying that McIlroy was in danger of becoming Ringo of the Beatles and getting left behind in the dust of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. So McIlroy threw a few subtle daggers their way, too.
Has as many majors as the other three combined. https://t.co/xg0z82T4XX— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 9, 2016
"Probably not the first time I've been compared to the Beatles," said McIlroy on Tuesday. "Those guys are having a great run at the minute. I'm happy where my game is. I can't worry about other guys. I've got four major championships, and I'd love to add to that tally. Just as those guys would love to add to the one or two majors they have."
The one or two they have. Awesome.
If you love McIlroy, this is why you love him. Because he has swagger and then he has the game to back it up. If you dislike him, this is likely why you dislike him as well. Either way, though, you have to have an opinion about him which, ironically, is another great way to grow the game.
Polarizing stars with a fistful of major championships? Yeah, golf is going to be just fine whether McIlroy cares about it or not.