Following the momentous days of the Rio Games when golf was reunited with the Olympic movement after a 112 year absence,.
Pádraig Harrington reflected on his first Olympic experience: “I would say I was more nervous on the first tee – as much as I would have been when I played my first major. It was very exciting. I said it to the guys walking off, now we are Olympians and nobody can take that away from us. When you think about it, most weeks, you have 156 guys playing, 155 losers. This week, you have 60 guys playing, and we are all winners.”
The decisions of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry to turn down the opportunity to present Ireland and be part of Olympic golfing history had caused some controversy prior to the start of the Rio Games. On their missed opportunity, the former Major winner stated:
“That will be interesting for the athletes who turned down coming here this time. Some of them might not get the opportunity again. You’d be surprised how it does change. For me, this is clearly pretty much the opportunity of a lifetime. Logically will I get another chance in 2020? Probably not. So this is an awfully big deal that I got my opportunity and I’m keen to take it.”
Harrington went on to comment on the difference golf being in the Olympics could make for the game of golf internationally, but especially in China: “Look, it’s massive for golf being in the Olympics. The legitimacy that it brings to the sport when you go to a country like China, where often we hear they’re not giving licences to build any more golf courses. When you can say ‘well it’s an Olympic sport now!’, that has got to help when it goes to Government level.”
Rounds of 70, 71, 67, and 73 ranked the Dubliner 47th in the Men’s Individual competition in Rio 2016.