Rose bucks trend to speak of Olympics pride


Justin Rose spoke of his pride after being confirmed as part of Great Britain's team at the Olympics, bucking the trend of golfers withdrawing from Rio 2016.

The sport's return to the Games for the first time since 1904 has been overshadowed by a succession of its leading stars pulling out, with many citing health concerns amid fears over the Zika virus.

Jordan Spieth joined the long list this week, meaning none of the world's current top four will be present in Brazil, and Rory McIlroy - who announced in June he would not compete - launched a scathing attack on golf at the Olympics on Tuesday.

Speaking the day after the Northern Irishman had claimed he would not bother even watching the golf in Rio, Rose - who was named alongside Masters winner Danny Willett, Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew in Team GB - struck a different a chord.

"The history of the Games... how many great athletes have been before us and represented Team GB, that obviously makes it an honour," said the 2013 U.S. Open champion ahead of this week's 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.

"And being part of a group bigger than your own individual sport. Being part of Team GB, which is going to be about 350 athletes, is something to behold and something to be proud of and something that I've sort of wanted to take on board."

Asked how winning a medal would size up against claiming one of golf's majors, the 35-year-old added: "I don't think you can compare the two.

"I think if I was to fast forward 10 years, I'd like my career to read: 'Justin Rose, multiple major champion and Olympic gold medalist.'

"It's going to be right there alongside the major championships, but not compared to. I just think it has its own category. It's once every four years. It's very unique. It's very different. It's very special."

The withdrawals have cast doubt over golf's viability as an Olympic sport in the long term and Rose conceded to his feeling deflated by the issue.

"It's obviously disappointing; of course it is," he said. "There's no point lying about that. But I totally respect and understand their perspective and their decision, and it obviously comes down to personal reasons, and for that you have to respect."

Rose - who said he hoped McIlroy's outburst was a "slip of the tongue" - also refuted his Ryder Cup colleague's claims that golf needed to up its game when it came to drugs testing.

McIlroy suggested he could "get away with it" as the standards were not in line with many other sports.

But Rose said: "I don't know how you would improve the procedures that are in place. I don't know what else they're looking for. They feel comprehensive enough to me."