It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong.
By extension of that logic, Rory McIlroy is a giant amongst men.
After narrowly missing out on an Olympic medal, the four-time major winner admitted that his pre-Tokyo dismissal of golf in the Games had been wide of the mark.
At the Open Championship a fortnight ago, McIlroy described himself as “not a very patriotic guy” and said that he was only taking part in the Olympics “because I think it is the right thing to do”.
“I missed it last time and for golf to be an Olympic sport you need your best players there, and I feel like I want to represent the game of golf more than anything else,” he added. "I don't know if there is much to look forward to. It is obviously going to be a very different environment.”
Fast-forward to today and McIlroy has done a full one-eighty. Representing Ireland, the 32-year-old lost out in a seven-man playoff for the bronze at Kasumigaseki Country Club, C.T. Pan eventually taking the medal behind gold medallist Xander Schauffele and Rory Sabbatini, who claimed silver.
“I made some comments before that were probably uneducated and impulsive,” said McIlroy. “But coming here, experiencing it, seeing, feeling everything that goes on, not just Olympic golf but the Olympics in general, that sort of Olympic spirit's definitely bitten me and I'm excited how this week's turned out and excited for the future.”
Much to his own surprise, the former world No.1 has already set his sights on qualifying for the the next Games in 2024.
“It makes me even more determined going to Paris and trying to pick up [a medal], he said. “It's disappointing going away from here without any hardware. I have never tried so hard in my life to finish third. But it's been a great experience.
"Today was great day to be up there in contention for a medal. Certainly had a different feeling to it than I expected and I'm already looking forward to three years time and trying to go at least one better but hopefully three better.
“I've really enjoyed spending so much time with Shane [Lowry] and all the guys and it's just been a throwback to the good old days when we didn't play for money. It was a really enjoyable week and I hope we both make it for Paris again in three years’ time and have another good crack at it.”