Saturday 29 April 2017

WATCH - 'It's a decision that I've fought with myself over for years' - Rory McIlroy 'unlikely' to take part in Tokyo 2020 Games

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Rory McIlroy has admitted that it is highly unlikely that he will take part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

McIlroy pulled out of golf’s return to the Olympics last year, citing his concerns about the Zika virus. However, he has indicated since that was not the full story behind his withdrawal from the Irish team.

Speaking to Sunday Independent columnist Paul Kimmage at the weekend, McIlroy said he resented the Olympics for forcing him to chose between Great Britain and Ireland when he felt like a Northern Irishman.

While admitting that the golf at the Rio Olympics was a success and he hopes that it will be a success in Tokyo in three years time, he probably won't be there.

"I'm a very conflicted person and not a lot of people understand that maybe but it's the way I feel," he told BBC Northern Ireland.

"I know that some people, most people, will think that that is wrong but it's the way I feel and I can't really help it I guess.

"More likely than not I won't be going to the Games in 2020 just because of my personal feelings towards, not the Olympic games, the Olympic games are great and golf being included in the Olympic Games is fantastic, but just for me it's something I don't want to get in to.

"That's a personal choice and hopefully people respect that decision."

"It's not to say that where I'm from is a bad place, Northern Ireland is one of the nicest places on Earth and I try to get back there as much as I can and the people are great. That will always be home for me but it's a personal decision and it's a decision I haven't taken lightly."

McIlroy claimed he 'flipped' during a press conference at Royal Troon ahead of the Open Championship last year when he was asked about his decision to pull out of the Olympics.

He said he didn't get into golf to win Olympic gold but to win majors and went as far to say that he might not watch the golf event in Rio.

"It's a decision that I've fought with myself over for so many years and the comments I made at the Open.... maybe it was one question too many and I just flipped a little bit and I maybe said something off the cuff that went a little too far but it's always been in there, alway been there at the back of my mind," he added.

"That day it came to the front of my mind and I kind of let it go."

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