Rio 2016: McIlroy quick to congratulate gold medallist Rose


Rory McIlroy sent a message to Justin Rose after his Olympic triumph to congratulate the Englishman on winning gold at Rio 2016.

McIlroy opted out of the tournament in Brazil over concerns about the Zika virus and suggested he would not even watch the competition due to a lack of interest in golf's return to the quadrennial showpiece event.

However, the world number five was monitoring the final round on Sunday as Rose beat Henrik Stenson to gold on the final hole.

"He was very proud and said he was rooting for me," Rose told a media conference.

"He said he could see how much it meant to me. And congratulations. He was very complimentary and he said that he watched.

"Obviously he made the point that he wants golf to succeed as an Olympic sport. He has some personal opinions on it but, as a whole, he is very much behind it."

Rose took a very different approach to the tournament and he reaped the rewards as he became the first Olympic golf champion since 1904, and he hopes the excitement of the last round can help cement its place in future Games.

"This is a huge win for me," he said. "This has made my season, it's made my year, it's made my next four years. 

"It's amazing bragging rights. It's turned the whole season around.

"My phone has been on fire during the last 24 hours. It seems to resonate with a much wider audience. It's not just golf fans but sports fans and the nation as a whole seem to really get behind you."

He added: "All the guys [who] missed out made their decision for good reason but I think they are going to realise what a successful event this was. They are all great, hungry competitors and to be sitting at home watching the guys getting the glory is something [that is] not going to sit well with them.

"They are going to want it. That's what makes them great, is the fact that they want experiences like this and they are going to have to wait four years.

"It's a big deal. That's what makes this special. It just doesn't come around next week. I targeted it and went after it and I'm proud of it and it is an opportunity that only comes around so rarely. Hopefully they are going to take that opportunity in 2020."