TROON, Scotland – Earlier this week Rory McIlroy was criticized for saying he “didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game.”
On Thursday, following an opening-round 69 at Royal Troon, the Northern Irishman clarified his comments, pointing out he has used his position in the game to help charity and to support junior golf.
“I would have elaborated a little bit on the grow-the-game comment. Obviously I feel like I do my bit to grow the game,” McIlroy said. “It's not as if I'm uninterested. I feel like golf is a great vehicle to instill values in kids.
"Look, it's my opinion. I think my opinion's shared by a few people, but some people may think it's wrong and that's fine. But I've spent seven years trying to please everyone, and I figured out that I can't really do that, so I may as well be true to myself."
McIlroy’s comments were regarding his decision to not play in this year’s Olympics. They drew criticism from some, including Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee.
“I think it's likely that, at the end of his career, he'll regret that moment more than any other moment in the history of his career,” Chamblee said. “It is an insult to everyone who goes and plays in the Olympics.”
Although McIlroy said he’s still comfortable with his decision to not play the Olympics, he did seem compelled to expand on his comments from earlier in the week.
“If I can somehow make a positive change in the world by what I do on the golf course, so whether that means raise money for charity or give kids more of a chance in life growing up,” he said. “I've been very fortunate to do what I've done in golf, and I feel like I've used that success in a positive way.”