RIO 2016: Rose blooms to take gold in golf
GOLF: Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose has defended the decision to bring the game back to the Games after a 112-year absence.
Many were questioning why it had become an Olympic sport again, especially as a number of the world's best players pulled out for various reasons, including fears about the Zika virus, before the tournament.
But after holing a birdie on the 18th to defeat Sweden's Henrik Stenson by two shots in the men's singles strokeplay competition, an emotional Rose said it was the right choice to re-instate golf after it was last played at the 1904 Games in St Louis.
"The people who doubted golf are absolutely wrong,” Rose said.
"Every player who came here has had the most amazing week of golf. It is unique, totally different but the competition was first class, Henrik is the best in world right now and it was a huge challenge and that is what the Olympics is all about.
"Today proved to be a great final round and the medal ceremony was a surreal experience. It is something I have witnessed many times but to be up there was something to behold.
"The competition is something I have been focused on, wanted to peak for, and has been at the forefront of my mind for the last few months.
"Hopefully it was an exciting finish and I believe it was a great showcase for golf at the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.”
Australian Marcus Fraser, who led the competition for the first two two and a half rounds after an opening round 63, fell away in the final round to finish tied fifth on -8under.
The 38-year-old played with major winners Rose and Stenson in the final round and said he was delighted with how he had played despite fading away to finish outside the medals, with American Matt Kuchar's 63 taking him into bronze.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here mixing it with those guys,” Fraser said.
"Coming out and performing on this stage was very pleasing.
"The Olympics blew my expectations by so far it wasn't funny. It was an incredible week and I was fortunate to be part of it.
"Week in week out we play for ourselves but this week we played for our country first and ourselves second. It was surreal.”
Fraser said he would like to see a teams format introduced to Olympic golf, an idea backed by team captain Ian Baker-Finch.
"We very rarely get to play a team format,” said Fraser.
"We're very selfish and it's all about ourselves. Hopefully they will consider that for Tokyo (in 2020).”