Thursday 18 July 2019

Irish Olympic decision right for me and my career, insists McIlroy

Rory McIlroy says he is 'taking ownership' of his career in making the decision to compete for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Rory McIlroy says he is 'taking ownership' of his career in making the decision to compete for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Karl MacGinty

Rory McIlroy stepped out from under a cloud which has shadowed him for nearly five years and further cleared his focus on Major titles and a return to the top of the world.

By declaring his intention to play for Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, McIlroy's removed an impasse which commanded too much of his and the Irish public's attention since it first arose in August 2009.

It is another significant step for the two-time Major champion and, coming in the wake of a massive life decision to end his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki last month, it's likely to represent a significant watershed in his career.

"I'm taking ownership of my career and ownership of my life," he explained yesterday. "I'm just basically doing things I think are right for me and my career.

"I don't think this (his Olympic decision) is linked with or has anything to do with the big life decision you talked about," he stressed. "But it's taking ownership of your career and yourself.

"This is my career and I want to do it the right way and my way and make the most of it," added McIlroy.

Without casting blame on anyone else but himself, McIlroy admitted that in recent times, his focus on his career and his development as a golfer wasn't as clear as it might have been.

"I just feel sometimes I wasn't giving myself the chance to be the best player that I can be," he explained.

Yet there are no regrets. "Not now, because when you look at everything, I'm lucky that I'm 25, have had so many great learning experiences so far and it's great that at this stage I'm putting things right and the way I want them.

"That sets me up for another great 20 years of a career," added the two-time Major champion.

Though legal proceedings with his former management team still represent a very big item on the immediate horizon, McIlroy gives the clear impression on the golf course these days that his game is growing correspondingly more potent with his focus.

McIlroy hopes to stay in the Olympic Village in Rio and looked forward with relish to sharing in the same electric atmosphere which surrounded Katie Taylor's proud march to the gold medal in London two years ago.

"I've never really experienced competing in an arena like the Olympics, everyone training so hard for so long to get there ," he said. "It'll dawn on me when the time comes but watching Katie a couple of years ago win that medal; how impressive she was and the noise of that crowd, it was unbelievable.

"Even if I'll be off playing golf somewhere outside Rio, even to be in the crowd if another Irish athlete has the chance to win a gold medal, just to be able to cheer them on is going to be a really cool experience."

Irish Independent

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